UNSEEN AMSTERDAM: 21-23 Sept 2018

Shroud, Rhône Glacier, Switzerland, 2018 © Norfolk + Thymann

From 21 to 23 September, over 300 emerging and established artists will present groundbreaking developments in photography, confirming Unseen Amsterdam to be the leading international event for new photography.

Unseen is the leading international platform for contemporary photography. Every year, Unseen organises one of Europe’s largest and most celebrated photography events – Unseen Amsterdam — opening its doors to enthusiasts, professionals and artists at all stages of their careers to explore the latest developments in photography. This year, Unseen Amsterdam is once again offering an extensive programme with initiatives such as the Fair, CO-OP, Book Market, the three-day speaker programme Living Room, two extensive Exhibitions, On-site Projects, the City Programme and Talent Development Programmes, aimed at promoting the newest names within contemporary photography.

  • Over 85 premieres, works that have never been seen before, by emerging and established artists are presented at the Fair
  • Work by 12 international, innovative artist collectives in CO-OP
  • Renowned photographers drawing attention to melting glaciers as a result of global climate change in the exhibition When Records Melt
  • New photography platform Futures presenting work by 60 emerging artists drawn from talent programmes across Europe
  • Lectures and debates about the current state and future of photography in the Living Room
  • Over 70 independent publishers in the Book Market launching 38 new art publications
  • Talent Development through the ING Unseen Talent Award, Fujifilm Faculty, and Grolsch Unseen Residency
  • Exclusive evening openings and dynamic initiatives throughout the city of Amsterdam with Open Gallery Night and the City Programme.


Unseen Amsterdam, 2017 © Maarten Nauw


Living Room, Unseen Amsterdam, 2017 © Almicheal Fraay


Premieres at the Fair

Over 50 galleries from 17 countries will exhibit new photography by artists from all over the world at the seventh edition of Unseen Amsterdam. Emerging artists such as Mustafa Saeed from Somaliland, whose work touches on themes including war, conflict and the environment, Keyezua from Angola, who revisits the clichéd representation of African women, and France’s Elsa Leydier, who investigates and reconstructs iconic representations of exotic places, all showcase new work. Established artists such as Inez & Vinoodh (NL), Rafał Milach (PL) and Isaac Julien (UK) will also present previously unseen work during the event.



For the second consecutive year, CO-OP offers a platform for international, innovative artist collectives to present their ideas and images in new ways. Collectives taking part include illustrators, designers, videomakers and photographers from the Migrant Image Research Group, who study Mediterranean migration to Europe, Vienna-based 280A, who challenge the concept of authorship, and Switzerland-based KLAYM, who, among other things, offer a platform for new African talent through the publication of NICE Magazine.


When Records Melt

When Records Melt is an exhibition that will explore how artists, in their role as social researchers, are able to strikingly capture issues relating to society and the environment with their photography. The exhibition is created in collaboration with Project Pressure, a charity organisation that works with leading international scientists and artists to convey the impact of climate change on glaciers, and will present work by Michael Benson (DE), Adam Broomberg (ZA) and Oliver Chanarin (GB), Edward Burtynsky (CA), Peter Funch (DK), Noémie Goudal (FR), Simon Norfolk (NG), Christopher Parsons (GB) and Klaus Thymann (DK). Part of the exhibition is the brand new series by Simon Norfolk (NG) and Klaus Thymann (DK), who teamed up under the name Norfolk + Thymann, which was created during their recent expedition in Switzerland.



Unseen Amsterdam will be the first to bring together the 60 emerging artists working within the new European photography platform Futures. Two presentations will give an overview of the current European photographic landscape. In addition to the Futures Talent Pool, the work of ten selected Futures talents will be presented in a special exhibition, Futures Narratives. Futures strives to increase the possibilities and visibility of photographic talent and facilitates access to the global art market.


Book Market, Unseen Amsterdam, 2017 © IrisDuvekot


CO-OP, Unseen Amsterdam, 2017 © Almicheal Fraay

Living Room

Influential creatives and professionals from all over the world will come together in the Living Room space to share their vision and exchange ideas about the future of photography. Speakers include writer, curator and broadcaster Lou Stoppard (GB), Editor of Aperture magazine Michael Famighetti (US), critic and curator David Campany (GB) and artist Awol Erizku (US). International co-curators for this three-day speakers programme are the prominent photography foundation Aperture from New York and the new European platform for photographic talent, Futures.


Book Market

Meet the creative minds that experiment with the printed and bound counterpart of image making: photobooks. Housing over 70 independent publishers, the Book Market offers a full programme of 38 book launches as well as signing sessions and discussions.


On-site Projects

Through various on-site projects visitors to Unseen Amsterdam can come into contact with a variety of artists and their methods. Alessandro Calabrese (IT) will invite visitors to become co-creators of his project The Long Thing: Re-assembling Images, which investigates the theme of authorship in surprising ways. As part of Unseen’s philosophy to support artists in the early stages of their careers, Unseen Amsterdam has also invited Six Academies to present work by graduating talent whilst showing similarities and differences across the European visual landscape.


Sailing Back to Africa as a Dutch Woman 2, from the series FORTIA, 2017 © Keyezua/Ed Cross Fine Art


From the series, Nearly Every Rose on the Barriers in Front of the Parliament, 2017 © Rafał Milach/JEDNOSTKA Gallery


Talent Development

The ING Unseen Talent Award challenges emerging artists to explore the boundaries of photography, and helps them take the next step in their careers. This year, installation artist, filmmaker and photographer Isaac Julien (GB) will lead the extensive learning trajectory. The selected artists will create a new work under his leadership within the theme of New Horizons: Exploring the promise and perils of the future. Further to this, emerging artists’ collective The Cool Couple (IT) has been invited to develop their creative talents and skills as researchers into innovative ideas and opportunities within the Fujifilm Faculty and Dutch photographer Thomas Kuijpers has been given the opportunity to create new work during a two-month stay in Stockholm, aided by an extensive network of photography professionals, as part of the Grolsch Unseen Residency.


City Programme / Open Gallery Night

On Saturday the 22nd of September, a selection of local galleries and institutions will open their doors from 8-10pm to celebrate contemporary photography. Travel through the lively streets of Amsterdam by night, immersing yourself in a range of exhibitions that challenge and reinvent the medium of photography. In addition to all activities at the Westergasfabriek, Unseen Amsterdam presents the City Programme in which visitors can experience photography at leading institutions across the city. The programme will include a series of inspiring and challenging exhibitions and initiatives that push the boundaries of photography in unexpected ways.


Unseen Magazine

The fifth issue of Unseen Magazine has a bold and exciting new design and a new generation of contributing writers. It discusses the current state of photography through an in-depth collection of stories, articles and interviews, including over 50 interviews with artists who will be showing their work at Unseen Amsterdam this year.


For more information and tickets, visit the Unseen website.


Unseen Magazine Issue 5, 2018 © Unseen