Vincen Beeckman, tiff 2023 and Meggy Rustamova currently on view at Fotomuseum of Antwerp

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Vincen Beeckman, tiff 2023 and Meggy Rustamova currently on view at Fotomuseum of Antwerp
Videostill, Bang [Ding Dong] Zang, ©Meggy Rustamova.

ANTWERP.- The FOMU Fotomuseum of Antwerp houses one of the most significant photo collections in Europe, featuring both equipment and photo documents. Each year, the FOMU presents several temporary exhibitions by nationally and internationally renowned photographers. The museum’s displays which change every four months, is currently showcasing the photography work of Vincen Beeckman and Meggy Rustamova.

'Ping Pong' is Vincen Beeckman's first major museum exhibition. ​Beeckman (°1973, Belgium) is a photographer who connects people. His life is filled with encounters. He invests time in building good communication channels by being repeatedly present - if only briefly. Chance meetings turn into long-term relationships. The Ping Pong exhibition provides an insight into four long-running projects that for the most part have existed side by side. Beeckman plays a sort of game of table tennis with the people he meets and the stories he records. The game and engagement only last as long as both sides keep the ball in the air.

Cracks is a wide-ranging introduction to a group of unhoused people who live around Brussels Central Station. Beeckman gave them disposable cameras that opened up an important exchange. Together they make a book and exhibitions. Every step of the process was a collaboration.

Les Intimes narrates the life story of a family from Mons. Beeckman plays the role of family photographer and is invited to every important event - be it a birthday, moving house, a wedding or even a funeral. At first this is only at the request of the family, later also in a more organic way.

La Devinière is a psychotherapy centre near Charleroi where people with a mental illness live together. Beeckman has been a part of the community there for years, partying, playing and creating together.

At FOMU’s invitation, Beeckman plunged into the cultural scene around Studio Palermo, a multidisciplinary design agency in Antwerp that brings together tattoo art, illustration, music and fashion. One encounter led Beeckman to the next. This dynamic resulted in a kaleidoscopic and idiosyncratic portrayal of the port city.

The publication Pong Ping accompanies the exhibition and is for sale in the museum shop for € 39.5.

.tiff 2023 - Emerging Belgian Photography

Every year, FOMU selects ten promising artists and photographers with a Belgian connection. They are taken on a one-year journey where they are given several opportunities to present their work to an international professional audience. In addition, FOMU creates the magazine and group exhibition .tiff with them.

.tiff 2023 presents work by Kwabena Sekyi Appiah-Nti, Emilio Azevedo, Eva Maria Bouillon, Luna Mahoux, Fabrice Schneider, Sarah Stone, Brahim Tall, Kristof Thomas, Oxiea Villamonte and Yao Yuan.

In the same way that “Belgian photography” cannot be categorised, .tiff does not fall under one heading. It functions as an overview of the diversity and energy of the Belgian photography scene.

This 11th edition of .tiff marks a new beginning, with a fresh design of the magazine and twist in the selection process. For the first time this year we solicited the expertise from three external jurors to select the final ten. Together with Sorana Munsya (independent curator), Anna Planas (artistic director of Paris Photo) and Max Pinckers (.tiff alumnus and artist) we carefully curated a diverse group of participants.

.tiff is part of FUTURES, a partnership between FOMU and a growing number of European organisations.

Bang [Ding Dong]

At FOMU’s invitation, Meggy Rustamova (°1985, Georgia) created her new video artwork Bang [Ding Dong]. The film tells the story of a group of children learning to speak Dutch. Rustamova used her own memories of being an eight-year-old refugee arriving in Europe. Like many newcomers, she struggled with the word “bang” (“afraid”). She practised pronouncing it using similar sounds: Ding Dong! Bang Bang! The sort of sounds you hear in cartoons.

Working with young refugees, Rustamova posed the question: what does the word “afraid” mean today? What are the children afraid of? Is it acceptable to frighten children in order to keep them safe? But what if this turns into fear of “the other”? How fearful is our culture, anyway?

Bang [Ding Dong] is a short film of pared-down elements: Rustamova’s own class photograph from the early 1990s; her visits to the asylum seekers’ centre; and the photographs of their surroundings that the children made themselves. With great sensitivity, Rustamova employs photography, film and language to shed light on the daily experiences of young refugees.

This work was made possible through the support of Flanders State of the Art.

FOMU Grant

This year, FOMU is awarding grants to Maryan Sayd, Meggy Rustamova and Nick Geboers. The selection was carried out in collaboration with VICE and WIELS. The FOMU Grant consists of a commission for new work, a presentation in the museum, and the purchase of the work for the collection.

The FOMU Grant creates a fertile ground for art photography in Flanders, supports photographers’ careers and stimulates dynamism and innovation in the field. At the same time, FOMU benefits from having its own points of view challenged, resulting in a greater diversity of perspectives in both its exhibitions and the permanent collection.

FOMU - Fotomuseum Antwerpen

Ping Pong - Vincen Beeckman
June 24th, 2023 - October 8th, 2023

.tiff 2023 - Emerging Belgian Photography
June 24th, 2023 - October 8th, 2023

Meggy Rustamova - Bang [Ding Dong]
June 24th, 2023 - August 27th, 2023

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