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UNSEEN 2023 – Galleries at UNSEEN fair – Part 6 (images 63-77)


Root Gallery Krimpen aan de Lek – Jan Theun van Rees (1960 The Netherlands) (images 63 )

With his art, Jan Theun van Rees focuses on the appearance of space as an image and the perception of that (visualised) space in relation to the space that surrounds us. The representation of a space on the flat surface of the picture plane is always an interpretation of a certain place, even if the site is completely fictitious and exists only as an image. Often, his photographs show a connection between interior spaces and the outside world; the known and the unknown; ourselves and our environment. This connection is emphasised through the material characteristics and the visualisation of spatial qualities. Jan Theun follows a slow, intuitive and unpredictable process. During this process he regularly looks through the camera until the sensation of being in a place he has never been before sneaks up on him. Then, he takes the photo.

The works shown at Unseen are all part of his Perforated Space series. Using material rescued from waste containers, Jan Theun constructed spaces where he plays with the light that streams in through many different openings. The surroundings in the picture plane offer a passage to a new unfamiliar reality. In this way, Jan Theun draws attention to the interaction between spaces that are apparently separated by walls, but are nevertheless closely connected.

While building a set, Jan Theun takes numerous photos with his phone or camera. However, these ‘sketches’ are not intended as being the final product. Often these are images who have a clear expressiveness that cannot simply be reproduced with another camera – even if it wasbecause that situation no longer exists.

To underline the continuous dynamics of the visual process, Jan Theun will be presenting a couple of these exclusive, single artworks at Unseen! Rather than being focused on the ultimate image, these prints show the value of intuition, coincidence and casualness in relation to artistic development and new discoveries. Please note that the prints are part of a unique exhibition offer and will therefore only be showcased and available at the fair.


Root Gallery Krimpen aan de Lek – Sophie de Vos (1992 The Netherlands) (images 64)

In essence, Sophie’s work revolves around the concept of human nature and the questions surrounding it. Subjects like transience, decay, loss and the passing of time play an important role in her practice. For human beings, these subjects are often emotionally charged, while in nature they are most common. Sophie shows and questions this contrast by creating photographic series in which the human body is accompanied by elements from nature. Her works tell stories through image and language by means of her attributed titles. Contemplating about what it means to be human, inevitably leads to self reflection. Sophie’s work emphasises this in a very subtle way, combining living and non-living elements to capture the essence of the subject at hand. Doing so, she is able to ask questions, without looking for particular answers.

Root Gallery
Molendijk 46
2931 SC Krimpen aan de Lek
The Netherlands


Rutger Brandt Gallery Amsterdam – Dirk Hardy (1989 The Netherlands) (images 65)

For his solo exhibition at UNSEEN 2023 Hardy presents a dystopian world. With ‘Vivarium’, an ongoing project that he started in 2018, Hardy constructs hyper-realistic worlds that express the complexity of our zeitgeist. In a series of tableaux vivants, Hardy designs, builds and photographs his own full-scale fantasy worlds. Before starting his photography studies, Hardy studied Architecture at Eindhoven University of Technology. He uses his technical background to build his own sets, light boxes, and window frames. He combines this with his artistic training, designing every detail of the set, from the clothes and objects to the attributes of his characters. Furthermore, as the photographer, Hardy meticulously stages his hyper-realistic universes to create a ‘purposeful fiction’. Hardy builds handmade frames for his photographs, creating a physical window that acts as a portal into his ominous realms. This illusion of a window is enhanced by the self-designed light boxes in which Hardy mounts his photographs. Each episode of the Vivarium series has its own theme and shows a different complexity in our daily lives. His subjects range from the disneyfication of our colonial past and digitally created personalities to his own solitude experiences during the Covid pandemic. In his work, photorealism, fantasy and reality intermingle. As a result, the viewer is confronted with a series of dystopian scenarios of our modern society. For the first time on show is Residue City, a series of constructed landscapes in which Hardy invites us to experience a post-Anthropocene world. In Hardy’s Day & Night series we witness a fictional landscape where low sea levels are exposing former land masses to the sun. The landscape is filled with a mixture of sand, stones, and succulents. The scenery looks strangely familiar, but familiarly strange. In this uncanny post-human landscape fantasy and reality intermingle. We can still recognize the leftover structures of human civilization, but never have we seen it so peaceful and quiet. This vacant land has no borders, they disappeared under a blanket of vegetation. Now take a step back to reflect on Hardy’s dystopian landscapes and consider them in the 21st century, where we are in control of the steering wheel of mothership earth – and redirection is necessary to avoid crashing.

Rutger Brandt Gallery
Bethaniënstraat 39
1012 BZ Amsterdam


Small Projects Tromsoe – Grete Andrea Kvaal (1944 Norway) (images 66 – 67 )

Grete Andrea Kvaal is a camera-based artist, who lives and works in her hometown of Tromsø, Norway. She primarily works with black and white analogue photography, but in recent years has adopted colour and digital photography as well.

Her photographic interest mainly revolves around themes from her own life, from nature or from her encounters with other people. These are topics she goes into deeply over a long period of time, in order to acquire a greater perspective. Looking at and learning from the past has been central to several of her projects. For the Unseen Amsterdam 2023, Small Projects is presenting Grete Andrea Kvaal’s project “Karen Anna og Hennes Side” (Karen Anna and her Reindeer Pastoralistic District), wherein she followed a widowed Sami female reindeer herder between 1986 to 1993.

The work numbered 67 was realized by Grete Andrea Kvaal AND by Eva Faché

Small Projects Tromsoe – Eva Faché (1994 Belgium) (images 67 – 68 )

Eva Faché grew up in Ghent, Belgium, where her eye for documentary photography was already recognised by her teachers in high school. Eventually, she pursued photography at the LUCA School of Arts – NARAFI (Brussels), and then got a MA from the Royal Academy of Arts (KASK) in Ghent. Eva also worked as a photo journalist for the De Volkskrant in Amsterdam during the year that the newspaper company won the best newspaper in Europe award.

Eva’s personal work is grounded on the curiosity to understand the world around us. Often taking interest in human behaviour related to the role of identity and perception of reality in people’s lives and how this shapes and affects communities and connects people in the society.

The work numbered 67 was realized by Grete Andrea Kvaal AND by Eva Faché

Small Projects Tromsoe – Jet Pascua (1969 Philippines) (images 69 )

Jet Pascua works conceptually and his art is manifested in various media such as drawing, painting, video, sculpture, installation, film and photography. Many of his works are temporal in nature, both in terms of material and thematically.

Jet Pascua studied painting at the University of the Philippines in the 1990’s. He also received a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree at the Royal Academy of the Arts in Oslo and Master in Fine Arts degree at the Academy of Art in Bergen between 2004-2009. In 2020 he graduated from the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme, University of Tromsoe, a PhD program in artistic research.

Small Projects
Grønnegata 23
9008, Tromsø,


Spazio Nuovo Rome – Giuseppe Lo Schiavo (1986 Italy) (images 70)

In the field of photography, manipulation becomes the hallmark of an artistic practice which rejects the image’s claim to authenticity as a supposedly faithful depiction of reality, emphasizing instead its rhetorical, dramatic power.

The spaces portrayed in Giuseppe Lo Schiavo’s works represent the fusion of real and imaginary places, visions built in a dramatic manner, before and after shooting, becoming immersive due to the scale, the anamorphic effect and the chromatic quality of the prints.

Lo Schiavo conceives his photographs as tableaux, elaborated sets of a virtual space, creating the illusion of an open window (both metaphorical and literal) on a new reality and evoking images which are ancient and futuristic, artificial and natural at the same time.

Hybridisation is the foundation of the artist’s work that moves among art, photography, trompe-l’œil, reality and virtuality, drawing suggestions from the past and re-interpreting them through science, popular culture and the digital ecosystem.

Spazio Nuovo
Via d’Ascanio, 20
00186, Roma –


Studio Seine Rotterdam – Tahné Kleijn 1990 (The Netherlands) (images 71 )

Studio Seine presents new work by Tahné Kleijn during Unseen 2023, in a solo exhibition. The thematic series is based on loss and grief. In the style of Soo d’Oude Songen, Soo Pypen de Jongen, Tahné Kleijn photographes herself and her family members, each dealing in their own way with the recent loss of their mother, grandmother and partner. Through this series, Kleijn creates a universal view on the theme of mourning.

Tahné Kleijn (1990) lives and works from her studio in Helmond. The foundation of her photography is based on extensive research and careful staging. Kleijn has developed a recognizable handwriting inspired by the lighting and compositions of the Dutch 17th century paintings. This forms the starting point for creating contemporary genre pieces, as well as still lifes and portraits.

As a photographer and artist Kleijn gets the most inspiration from the Dutch 17th Century. You can recognise her photos by her unique use of light. She mostly works with staged photography based on happenings from the past. This led to series as ”Soo d’oude songen, soo pypen de jonge’, ‘Loving Vincent’ and ‘#StillAlive’ among others. Her photography is a combination between free work and work on commission.

Tentoonstellingsruimte voor hedendaagse kunst
Mathenesserdijk 323A –
3026 GC Rotterdam


The Bridge Gallery Paris – Sarfo Emmanuel Annor (2002 Ghana) (images 72)

The Bridge Gallery wants to explore at Unseen the evolution of portrait photography in Africa by presenting two artists and bringing together two different yet complementary approaches. For more than a century now, portrait photography has established itself as one of the most common artistic medium of expression on the African continent. Over the years, it has evolved along with society, displaying the new ways of living influenced by new technologies, fashion, environmental concerns, etc… Through portraits in which children are the predominant subject, the generational gap between our two artists therefore showcases both the evolution of African societies and the innovation of the medium of photography.

Sarfo Emmanuel Annor is a 21-year-old artist from Ghana. Having been a painter and a fashion designer’s apprentice, his art gravitates around two main themes: beauty and fashion. Beyond fashion references and a search for beauty in vibrant colors, Sarfo Emmanuel Annor wishes to pass strong messages about his daily life in Ghana and celebrate the culture and customs of Koforidua, from which he is from. He likes to use bold and vivid colors to share the stories and dreams of youth in his world. He revives the art of portraiture through a gallery of vibrant and intriguing children, inspired by the communicative energy of his surroundings.

The Bridge Gallery Paris – Fatoumata Diabaté (1980 Mali) (images 73)

Fatoumata Diabaté was born in 1980 in Mali. Since 2004 she has shown her work in a number of collective exhibitions. Since December 2017, she has been president of the Association of women photographers of Mali. She follows the footsteps of the Malian fathers of African photography Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta with her black-and-white portraiture. Her artworks relate to Mali’s culture, in which handmade mask objects and costumes are sacred. She is inspired by the stories she dreamt of while sleeping and then she creates objects that are at the service of those stories.

Through this craftmanship, she wishes to pass on strong messages about her culture and traditions.

The Bridge Gallery
Operates exclusively online
Paris France


THIS IS NO FANTASY Melbourne – Ali Tahayori (1980 Iran) (images 74 )

Ali Tahayori’s interdisciplinary practice ranges from conceptual photography to the moving image, and installation. Tahayori uses archival materials, narrative fragments and performative modalities to explore themes of identity, home, and belonging. Combining fractured mirrors with text and imagery, his works draw on ancient Iranian philosophies about light and mirrors to create kaleidoscopic experiences; moments of both revelation and concealment hint at the conflicted nature of his identity. Translating the traditional Iranian craft of Āine-Kāri (mirror-works) into a contemporary visual vocabulary, his practice combines a discourse about diaspora and displacement with an exploration of queerness – in both cases, poignantly testifying to his experience of being othered.

108-110 Gertrude St
Fitzroy VIC 3065


THK Gallery Cape Town / Cologne – Johno Mellish (1991 South Africa) (images 75)

Johno Mellish constructs his photographic mise-en-scènes by combining history, memory and imagination. Sourcing imagery from both traditional media channels and vernacular photographs, he composes fictional narratives which mirror our post-truth, fragmented, and data-driven society.

As a trained filmmaker and cinematographer, Mellish plays on serialism which shapes and informs his visual language. With a love of storytelling, he subverts the practice, creating unexpected juxtapositions and ideas. His ability to capture his audience – creating characters and locations in transition – give his works a certain mysticism. Represented in collections both locally and abroad, he was selected as a focus artist during AKAA 2019 in Paris, where academic Ashraf Jamal described his work, “Mellish is a visual DJ, a master of the remix. If his images seem novel and ‘unexpected’ it is also because, in his world, everything is up for grabs, everything can be reassigned a ‘new’ or different meaning. This process is not only a matter of shifting perspective, it is also the result of the deterritorialisation (Deleuze and Guattari) and defamiliarisation (Brecht) of the images. In Mellish’s photographs nothing possesses its essence, everything – the images content and reason for being – is, in effect, anti-and-post-essential. ”

Mellish presents his project Wild Natural Setting of which he says: A week in heaven, or just a long week. The brochures advertise unspoilt dreams, deep ventures into the heart of Eden, a wild natural setting. Seven days on holiday, or seven days to make a world. Got there and read the hotel bible. Thought I was in Eden.

The title wild natural setting arose from an online advertisement for holiday accommodation around the Garden Route. The area’s comparison to the Garden of Eden suggests a paradise and the ending of a paradise; a wild collision between leisure and chaos, between rest and encounter. These pictures were made in the heat of summer, with a certain intensity and determination that could be described as a cold green sweat. I like to think of the style of these pictures as documentary surrealism, which draws inspiration from the surreal works of Man Ray and Hans Bellmer, as well as from the more ‘documentary’ impulses of Paul Strand. Through the combination of these styles, I attempted to create a body of work that formed out of being in a place and thinking about the mythology behind its name.

THK Gallery Cape Town / Cologne – Nonzuzo Gxekwa(1981 South Africa) (images 76)

Nonzuzo Gxekwa is a Johannesburg based photographer. Gxekwa’s approach to photography favours the everyday over the spectacular; sharing intimate moments by focusing the camera on what is around her as well as on herself. Whether photographing in the street or in the studio, her work explores the human condition in subtle and beautiful ways.

Her optic is loving. It’s not simply that she chooses to focus on moments of self-love—the way people occupy themselves—but that in the taking, her subjects are never wholly circumscribed. There is always space to manoeuvre.

Collaboration is a crucial part of her practice, and she regularly works with photographers and other creatives in Johannesburg and further afield.

Nonzuzo’s work was included in Presence: Five Contemporary African Photographers at the Photographer’s Gallery in London from July – August 2021. In November 2021 Nonzuzo was selected for Self-Addressed, organised by Kehinde Wiley and Jeffrey Deitch in Los Angeles. For this landmark exhibition, Wiley invited a selection of contemporary African artists to produce a self-portrait. Together these portraits presented a new exploration of identity, perception, and self-regard within the global stage.

In 2022 she completed a year long residency at the prestigious Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, and her collaborative work, The Mask Project, was exhibited in Hope from Chaos: Pandemic Reflections

THK Gallery Cape Town / Cologne – Trevor Stuurman (1992 South Africa) (images 77)

Stuurman is an award winning contemporary multimedia visual artist, AFDA graduate with a BA(hons) motion picture & live performance who sees the world through his creative lens and finds beauty in that which reminds him of home – a place that is imbued with colour, love and belonging that reflects Africa. Ever since he burst onto the creative scene scooping the Elle style reporter title in 2012, Trevor has easily cemented himself as a creative force to be reckoned with.

The essence of belonging inspired him to host his first solo exhibition entitled “home”, a love letter to the Himba women of Namibia that enjoyed a successful run at the hazard gallery in Johannesburg. Subsequently, Trevor has exhibited in a group exhibition at Digitalia; the art and economy of ideas in San Francisco at the museum of the African diaspora. Trevor has curated his own installations; “teleporting into Africa” and “this is home” for the Absolut one source live creative festivals and “this is home” at the Motsepe foundation’s Mandela 100 summit.

Trevor has cemented himself as a co-pilot with brands such as mini as brand ambassador, standard bank, Simon and Mary’s fez hats line, eponymous fashion brand Rich Mnisi, Vlisco and Laurence airline. He has collaborated with artists such as Black Coffee, Ciara, Nelson Makamo, African Rhythm, Dear Ribane and the Carters – Beyoncé and Jay-Z. As Marie Claire magazine’s image maker 2018 recipient and GQ style declared “king of creativity”, Trevor has lived up to these titles having been commissioned in the same year by Disney to interpret Marvel’s Black Panther with Manthe Ribane as his muse. He has captured the likes of Teyana Taylor, Naomi Campbell Shanelle Nyasiase, Gigi & Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Imaan Hammam. As a British Vogue contributor, Trevor’s work at arise and afro punk Johannesburg has made him a sought after photographer able to capture inclusive representations of beauty, culture and fashion expression. It is no wonder he believes that “being African is his superpower.”

THK gallery
52 Waterkant Street
Cape Town
South Africa

Vitalisstraße 316
50829 Cologne


John Devos
Correspondent L’Œil de la Photographie/Eye of Photographie


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