FOMU Fotomuseum

FOMU presents the European premiere of the exhibition Santa Barbara by Diana Markosian (Moscow, 1989). In an innovative and deeply moving approach, Markosian tells the story of her family, and how they immigrated to America. Using film, still and archival images, Markosian explores the profound sacrifice made by her mother in pursuit of the American dream.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Markosian's Family is reduced to poverty overnight. At the same time, the American soap opera Santa Barbara is the first foreign show to be broadcast, offering a window to another world. Markosian's mother makes a decision to abandon her country and moves to the United States, in search of a better life for herself and her two children.  

This exhibition is Diana Markosian’s attempt to understand her mother’s decision. Markosian collaborated with the orginal writer of the soap opera to create a script, cast actors to play her family, re-enacting the departure and arrival to America. Markosian’s Santa Barbara is an interplay between the idealized vision of America and the reality of the immigrant experience.

Diana Markosian – Santa Barbara was first exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, followed by the International Center of Photography (New York) in collaboration with FOMU (Antwerp) and Les filles du calvaire (Paris).
The book Santa Barbara is published by Aperture and is for sale in the FOMU shop.

Photographer Bertien van Manen (NL, 1942) has captured the daily lives of the people she meets on her travels since the 1970s. From the Netherlands to China and from the former Soviet Union to the Appalachians, it is the ordinary, chaotic moments that most attract Bertien van Manen. Her straightforward 35mm camera allows her to get close to her subjects, and she was a pioneer of the empathetic, intimate documentary style.

The retrospective Wish I Were Here allows the visitor to look over van Manen’s shoulder. It is the result of a close collaboration between van Manen and the graphic designer Hans Gremmen, who spent a year and a half researching her archive for the retrospective book of her work Archive (MACK, 2021).

Bertien van Manen studied French, German and Russian and made her breakthrough on the photography scene in the 1990s with her series A Hundred Summers, a Hundred Winters. Her work has been exhibited internationally and acquired by museums such as MoMA (New York), Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris) and FOMU (Antwerp).  
This exhibition was partly realized with the support of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Belgium.

On 29 May, Hripsimé Visser, former curator of photography at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, will talk to Bertien van Manen about her work. Afterwards there is time for interaction and a signing session. The book Bertien van Manen – Archive, can be purchased in the FOMU shop.
16:00 – 17:00: Bertien van Manen in conversation with Hripsimé Visser
17:00 – 17:15: Q&A
17:15 – 17:30: book signing

In the practice of Alexey Shlyk & Ben Van den Berghe, the inspiring play between photographic image and architectural space is key. The artists combine new images and elements from previous works to continually create distinct, site-specific installations. They immerse visitors in alienating, disorienting environments using lens-based and computer-generated imaging technologies that blur the boundaries between physical and virtual realms. The ambiguous relationship between humans and technology is a recurring theme in their work.

Over the last year, Shlyk & Van den Berghe developed a modular system in collaboration with Atelier Oh to quickly and intuitively build, adapt with images, break down and reinvent model spaces. This hands-on methodology facilitates their research on the relationship between image and space. They capture their photographic and architectural experiments with scaled exhibition spaces and then edit and use these recordings in the final exhibition. The result is a continuous reinterpretation, which stimulates strong sensory perceptions.

This exhibition is the result of an art commission as part of the COVID-19 grant provided by FOMU in spring 2020 in response to the coronavirus measures, which hit many photographers and artists hard. For the selection, FOMU collaborated with art and photography experts.
On 29 May, Curator Tamara Berghmans will talk to Alexey Shlyk & Ben Van den Berghe about their book and exhibition 'Backspace'.
14:00: Guided visit in the exhibition
14:30 – 15:30: Artist Talk
15:30 – 15:45: Q&A