Australia’s largest photography biennale will return to the streets and galleries of Melbourne and regional Victoria, with PHOTO 2022 International Festival of Photography taking place from 29 April to 22 May 2022. The Festival will honour 123 local and international artists and photographers across 90 exhibitions, with 50 world premieres including 24 specially commissioned projects.
Now in its second edition, PHOTO 2022 provides an opportunity for audiences from across Australia and around the world to be part of a global celebration of new photography, art and ideas – featuring large-scale outdoor installations at iconic and unexpected sites across Melbourne, expertly curated exhibitions at 38 galleries including ACMI and NGV Australia, and thought-provoking events and education programs.
By focusing on the issues most important to our times, the Festival connects the arts with different elements of our lives across science, psychology, sociology, technology, current affairs and many others.
Through PHOTO 2022’s theme: Being Human – artists and photographers will unpack the human condition to explore what informs who we are: what unites us and what makes us unique within the narratives of Society, Self, Mortality, Nature and History. From an Ecuadorian tribe fighting to save the rainforest to Chinese youth culture, and deepfakes to First Nations stories, the diversity and richness of contemporary human life is on display.
Audiences will be able to explore photography by some of the most acclaimed artists from around the world, with exclusive Australian exhibitions by Gillian Wearing (UK), Paul Mpagi Sepuya (US), Mohamed Bourouissa (DZ/FR), Poulomi Basu (IN), Vasantha Yogananthan (FR), Aziz Hazara (AF), Martine Gutierrez (US), Massimo Vitali (IT), Florian Hetz (DE), Philip Montgomery (MX/US) and Luo Yang (CN), amongst others; as well as new commissions by renowned and up and coming Australian artists such as Atong Atem, Naomi Hobson, Dean Cross, Ying Ang, Hannah Brontë, Scotty So, Madeline Bishop, Anu Kumar and Patrick Pound.
Other highlights include large-scale lightboxes along Southbank Promenade; a photography and sound installation by Bidjara artist Christian Thompson in the former courtyard of the Old Melbourne Gaol; Jenny Lewis’ epic documentation of a community from the ages of 0 to 100 exhibited across over 100 metres of Metro Tunnel construction hoarding; and the first exhibition of Hoda Afshar’s critically-acclaimed project Speak the wind at Monash Gallery of Art.
Exhibitions by local and international queer photographers at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Parliament Gardens and Prahran Square; the world premiere of Ross McDonnell’s project made in collaboration with the Lost Boys of Afghanistan; portraits of Kulin Nation Elders by James Henry displayed on the steps of Old Treasury Building; and New Photographers, PHOTO 2022’s showcase of emerging talent.
Alongside the extensive contemporary program, two icons of photography will be honoured at PHOTO 2022. Presented by the Jewish Museum of Australia: Gandel Centre of Judaica in partnership with the Helmut Newton Foundation is HELMUT NEWTON: In Focus that will reveal the extraordinary life of one of the most prominent and provocative fashion photographers of all time: Helmut Newton; and influential American artist Cindy Sherman will be celebrated with the festival’s largest individual artwork to date installed on the façade of a building at Fed Square.
“PHOTO 2022 is the biennale Melbourne has been waiting for, embedding ambitious artworks into the very fabric of the city and creating unique experiences for audiences at some of our most famous landmarks,” said Elias Redstone, Artistic Director of PHOTO 2022.
“A trail of 40 outdoor displays across the city combined with commissioned work and exclusive exhibitions offer a unique art experience for audiences.”
“Responding to the theme ‘Being Human’, PHOTO 2022 showcases both the big topics and minutiae of the human experience, with work that creates moments of awe and wonder at the beauty and complexity of life today,” said Redstone.
“From contemporary artists to street photographers, PHOTO 2022 is an opportunity for people to be inspired by photography as an art form and to question the role it plays in our everyday lives,” said Mark Henry, Chair of Photo Australia.
“We are proud to be supporting the sector in Australia through commissioning artists and raising the profile of Melbourne as a global city of photography. It is also a time to collect photography, with the city’s leading commercial galleries premiering new work by Australian artists,” said Henry.
Designed as a festival of exploration, PHOTO 2022 is focused on five Festival Precincts for people to explore: Town Hall Precinct, Parliament Precinct, River Precinct, State Library Precinct, and Fitzroy/Collingwood, as well as venues throughout metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
PHOTO 2022 International Festival of Photography takes place across Melbourne and beyond from 29 April to 22 May 2022. For more information and full program, visit: www.photo.org.au for details.
Image: Cindy Sherman,Untitled Film Still, 1980. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. © Cindy Sherman