Deutsche Börse 2020 Nominee: Anton Kusters

‘I employ a documentary approach to explore the limits of understanding, the difficulties of representing trauma, loss of the experience of place, and the act of commemoration. More often than not, I end up with no answers whatsoever. I’ve come to understand that answers are seldom there.’

– Anton Kusters

Anton Kusters is shortlisted for his exhibition The Blue Skies Project exhibited at Fitzrovia Chapel, London, UK (15-19 May 2019).

Anton Kusters (b. 1974 in Belgium) produces conceptual photographic projects that often investigate the difficult premise of representing trauma. Questioning the act of commemoration and the loss of the experience of place in our contemporary culture, he proposes alternative ways of seeing and activating audiences to continue the process of memory.

The Blue Skies Project is an installation containing 1078 polaroid images. All the images show an upward view of a blue sky shot at the last known location of every former Nazi run concentration or extermination camp across Europe during WWII. Over a six-year period, Kusters meticulously researched these different and often forgotten sites of violence and photographed them using a simple analogue photographic process of peel-apart instant film. The resulting images were then blind-stamped with the number of victims at that side and its GPS coordinates.

The installation also features a 13 year-long generative audio piece by Ruben Samama, which recreates in sound and length, the period between 1933 and 1945 when the camps were operational. Through such artistic abstraction, Kusters offers the audiences space to contemplate their own position in history and engage with the ongoing discourse around human rights, trauma and genocide.

The Blue Skies Project is curated by Monica Allende. 

The Prize

The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize is an annual award established by The Photographers’ Gallery, London, in 1997 and in partnership with the Deutsche Börse Group since 2005 to identify and support talent, excellence and innovation. In 2016 the prize was renamed to reflect its new position within the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, a specifically established non-profit organisation focused on the collecting, exhibiting and promoting of contemporary photography.

The 2020 winner will be announced on Monday 14 Sep 2020 via a special online ceremony.  Details of when and how to tune in will be released nearer the time.  Sign up to our newsletter or check our website for latest updates. 

The 2020 Jury

The members of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2020 are Martin Barnes, Senior Curator, Photographs, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom; Melanie Manchot, artist and photographer, based in London, United Kingdom; Joachim Naudts, Curator and Editor at FOMU Foto Museum in Antwerp, Belgium; Anne-Marie Beckmann, Director of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation, Frankfurt a. M., Germany; and Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers’ Gallery as the non-voting chair.