AMSTERDAM.- Foam presents The Hyena & Other Men, an exhibition by South African photographer Pieter Hugo (b. 1976, Johannesburg). In March 2008, Hugo was selected by an international jury as winner of the annual KLM Paul Huf Award. Part of this prize for young international photographers is an exhibition at Foam.
Pieter Hugo travelled twice to Nigeria (in 2005 and 2007) to follow a legendary group of itinerant street artists known as the Hyena Men. These men earn their money by performing on the streets with hyenas, pythons and baboons, and by selling traditional medicines.
In his monumental portraits Hugo manages to capture the complex interaction between the dressers and their animals. His photos present a remarkable picture of the tension between domination and submission, between nature and culture, and between traditional and modern. The paradoxical relationship of the performers with their animals, ranging from loving to cruel and aggressive, is meticulously documented by Hugo.
Pieter Hugo has appeared in solo exhibitions at Michael Stevenson in Cape Town; Yossi Milo, New York; Extraspazio, Rome; Museum of Modern Art, Rome; Fabrica Features, Lisbon; Bertrand & Gruner, Geneva; Stephen Cohen, Los Angeles; and Warren Siebrits, Johannesburg. He has taken part in numerous group exhibitions, including recently at Rencontres dArles Photography Festival, France, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon (2007 in FORMA, Centro Internazionale di Fotografia, Milan (2007); and the 27th Biennale in São Paulo (2006).
Hugo has also produced three publications: Looking Aside (2006), Messina/Musina (2007) and The Hyena & Other Men (2007). In 2006 Hugo won first prize in the World Press Photo portrait category, and was selected for the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art 2007.