Aus dem Programm des Swiss Photo Award 2010 im Unterwerk, Zürich (Link zum Portal Kunstgeschichte): “Donnerstag, 13. Mai, 20.00 Uhr:  Der Blick nach Osteuropa – Bericht über eine Recherche
Uhr Eine Bildersoirée mit Horst Kløver, Fotograf, Kurator und Autor, Berlin
Horst Kløver, Mitorganisator der Präsentation LABOR OST im Untergeschoss, berichtet von seinen Eindrücken und Einschätzungen unentdeckter fotografischer Positionen aus Ländern in Ost-, Mittel- und Südosteuropa. Horst Kløver kommt mit frischen Impressionen direkt vom Fotografiefestival in Lodz/Polen nach Zürich. Nach der Bildersoirée besteht die Möglichkeit für Fragen und eine Diskussion.”

Aus dem Pressematerial: 
“LABOR OST ist als Anregung zur Diskussion ästhetischer und gesellschaftlicher Fragen konzipiert und funktioniert wie eine Wandzeitung: als Reise- und Recherchenbericht. Die gewählte Form der frei gehängten Bilderschau mit digitalen Ausdrucken, mit einem lebendigen Wechsel von Text- und Bildelementen, entspricht der Dynamik des Geschehens.”

Den Katalog zur Ausstellung LABOR OST im Rahmen des Swiss Photo Award im Unterwerk Zürich habe ich zusammen mit Walter Keller (1953 – 2014) herausgegeben. Walter hat das Vorwort in Englisch verfasst, es steht unter den Bildern der Ausstellung, die wir gemeinsam kuratiert haben.

Die 260-seitige, englischsprachige Publikation LAB EAST” ist hier komplett als Buchvorschau zu sehen). Das Titelbild von LAB EAST stammt von einer der besten Porträt-Fotografinnen Europas: Mirjana Vrbaski. Sie erhielt im gleichen Jahr des Erscheinens von LAB EAST für dieses Bild den Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

From the schedule of Swiss Photo Award 2010 in Zurich:

“Thursday, May 13, 8 p.m.: Looking towards Eastern Europe – Report about a research endeavor
 A picture soirée with Horst Kløver, photographer, curator and author, Berlin
Horst Kløver, co-organizer of the LABOR OST presentation in the basement, reports on his impressions and assessments of undiscovered photographic positions from countries in Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe. Horst Kløver comes to Zurich with fresh impressions directly from the photography festival in Lodz/Poland. After the picture soirée there will be the opportunity for questions and a discussion.”

From the press folder:
“LABOR OST is conceived as a stimulus for discussion of aesthetic and social issues and functions like a wall newspaper: as a travel and research report. The chosen form of a freely hung picture show consisting of digital printouts, with a lively alternation of text and picture elements, corresponds to the dynamics of the event.”

I edited the catalog for the exhibition LABOR OST as part of the Swiss Photo Award at Unterwerk Zurich together with Walter Keller (1953 – 2014). Walter wrote the preface in English, it is under  picture showing the exhibition, which we curated together.

The 260-page English-language publication LAB EAST can be seen here as full book preview. The cover of LAB EAST is by one of the best portrait photographers in Europe: Mirjana Vrbaski. She received the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize for this image the same year LAB EAST was published.

How to use this book.

by Walter Keller

In late spring of 2010 Horst Kløver and myself put together the exhibition LABOR OST in Zurich/Switzerland within the framework of the national photo exhibition ewz selection. The public carefully looked at the show, spent quite some time discovering unknown creative talents that geographically speaking – Zurich is in Western Europe – stem from the “East”. Talking during and after the show with some of the visitors, I discovered what in culture anthropology would be called a “positive stereotype”. There was quite a bit of astonishment among the visitors that so much was going on among young photographers from the so called “East”. But I started having doubts about the whole labelling of our show by using the word “East”.

Do you get better credits or comments  because you come from an “exotic” country that  people from the West hardly ever travel to, while we seem to be familiar with capitals of Western nations or the USA as if they were our own cities?  

The very first – and only – paragraph of the manual for this book should say: please ignore the fact that the artists published in this volume were born where they were born. Don’t fall into the trap of interpreting the works presented as geographically determined. Simply look at the presentation of every single artist and make a judgement only and exclusively based on the quality of the work. The artists in this book are not “Eastern” photographers. Even if they are. They simply are young artists who by chance were born in different countries than the ones where the dense net of art schools, supporting foundations, photo museums, commercial galleries and curators all merge into a promotional engine of high energy, making it almost impossible for a young photographer notto be discovered. 

This book is necessary not because the work presented on its pages is “Eastern”, but because of the ghosts of the past still so present. Had Europe not been divided, would you care about “East” or “West” while browsing through this publication? Certainly not. Such contradictions are the blood of our times. In this sense, this book is about “The East”. But only in this sense.