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C/O Berlin presents the C/O Berlin Talent Award 2021 exhibition Adji Dieye. Culture Lost and Learned by Heart from December 11, 2021 to April 21, 2022.

“In other words, as previously colonized peoples, what makes us a community is that we share a desire for self-conception. But in what ways can we conceive of self- conception? What are its paradigmatic demands?”
—Emmanuel Iduma, winner of the C/O Berlin Talent Award 2021 – Theorist

For her exhibition at C/O Berlin, the artist Adji Dieye has developed a video projection, wall-mounted works, and installations as a visual proposal for a non-linear reading of the history of Senegal. These room-sized sculptures were made by translating photographs into dotted bitmap grids used as templates for screen prints. The artist printed images from her own archive as well as from the National Archives onto multi-meter lengths of silk fabric, and mounted them on forged iron frames. In one of these works, the artist creates a visual dialogue between two periods in Senegalese history. A number of the images date back to the French colonial era and show the establishment of the nation-state of Senegal, while others document the current situation in Senegal today. By inscribing past and present within the shared space of the installation, Dieye calls into question the idea of history as a linear progression in which one event clearly proceeds the next. Her choice of installation materials evokes the motions of a newspaper printing press and brings the histories they present to life.

Adji Dieye (b. 1991, IT/SEN) studied New Technologies for Art at Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan and received an MFA from the Zurich University of the Arts. Her work has been included in international group exhibitions at FOAM Amsterdam (2020), Kunsthalle Wien (2020), at Bamako Encounters – African Biennale of Photography (2019), and the Lagos Photo Festival (2018). C/O Berlin is presenting her first institutional solo exhibition. Adji Dieye divides her time between Milan, Zurich, and Dakar.

Leo Exotic, from the series Quarantine Blues, 2020 © Leonard Suryajaya
Quarantine Blues (Everything Blue in my Apartment), from the series Quarantine Blues, 2020 © Leonard Suryajaya

Leonard Suryajaya

The colorful works of US-based Chinese-Indonesian artist Leonard Suryajaya play with the specific aesthetics of American commodities and reference fetishes from the fitness industry. In the large-format tableaux of his Quarantine Blues series, he humorously examines cultural codes, countering the isolation of the global lockdown with joyful settings such as garish interiors he implemented in his home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The jury was impressed by the fact that this optimism was by no means an ironic commentary on the dominant atmosphere of anxiety. Rather, with his over-the-top images Suryajaya was working very earnestly to create an unmistakable visual language in order to convey an underlying mood that can only be described as buoyantly hopeful.

Leonard Suryajaya b.1988, Indonesia / Lives in Chicago / Studied Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2015) / International exhibitions, e.g. in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2020), Benaki Museum, Athens (2018), National Library, Singapore (2018), Photoforum Pasquart, Biel (2017) and Aperture Gallery, New York (2019), including solo shows in the Silvereye Photo Center, Pittsburgh and Specialist Gallery, Seattle (2019) / He received awards such as the Center Excellence in Multimedia Award (2020) and Artadia Award (2018) / His work has been published in New York Times, Vogue America, Foam Magazine, British Journal of Photography, Aperture.

Untitled © Marina Caneve
Untitled © Marina Caneve

Marina Caneve

The project Beautiful Bridges. A Migration System Breaking All European Borders by Italian artist Marina Caneve operates at the intersection of documentary photography and artistic research. In photographic records and theoretical reflections, the artist investigates the ecological bridges, paths, and crossings built on the edges of our countries, cities, and highways to allow migratory animals to traverse urbanized landscapes. The jury was won over by Caneve’s unusual critical commentary on infrastructure, surveillance, and migration in the EU.

Marina Caneve b.1988, Italy / She studied Photography at the Royal Academy of Arts (KABK) in The Hague (2017) / International exhibitions in Paris, Rome, Milan, Turin, Salzburg, Venice, The Hague, Amsterdam / She teaches Master in Photography at IUAV, Venice (2019-) and Spazio Labò, Bologna (2020-) and is co-founder of CALAMITA/À / She won the Bastianelli Award for the best Italian photobook (2020) and was nominated for the Prix du livre des Rencontres d’Arles (2020) / Her work has been published by Fw:Books and OTM (2019), Quodlibet (2021) and A+Mbookstore Edizioni (2018).

Helluva Beating, 2021 © Max Colson
A Time of Crisis, 2021 © Max Colson

Max Colson

In War Games, Max Colson, an artist with a background in documentary photography, considers the current socio-political situation in his home country of Great Britain. His project examines the crisis brought about by Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, showing how the ideology of (national) unity and solidarity typical of the World War II British mindset is currently experiencing a revival in British popular culture. The ambitious content of his investigation was shortlisted in part also because of the medial extension of classical photography to include new technologies such as 3D software and digital renderings.

Max Colson b.1985, England / Lives in London / Studied Documentary Photography & Photojournalism (MA) at the London College of Communication (2013) / International exhibitions, e.g. at the Nunnery Gallery, London (2020), Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2020), Noorderlicht Gallery, Netherlands (2015), including solo shows at VITRINE, London (2021), Arebyte Gallery, London (2017) and Royal Institute of British Architects, London (2015) / Screen Walks with The Photographers’ Gallery and Fotomuseum Winterthur (2020) and Screening at DOK Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (2020) / His work has been published in Unseen Magazine, It’s Nice That, Digicult and Vice.

Salma Abedin Prithi
In Torn, Bangladeshi photographer Salma Abedin Prithi considers society’s mental state during the COVID-19 pandemic. As her ability to work was limited, she made use of both news photographs and images found on Bangladesh’s highly regulated social media channels. She also staged exaggerated counterimages that highlight the population’s state of mind rather than everyday horrors. The project succeeds as a contemporary appraisal of the pandemic through its effect on people’s psychological state of mind, which is usually neglected in favor of incidence rates and vaccination campaigns.

Salma Abedin Prithi b.1985, Bangladesh / Lives in Dhaka and Berlin / Graduation in Photography at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute (2012) / International exhibitions, e.g. in the Mannheimer Kunstverein (2020), Art for Peace Festival, Islamabad (2017), Addis Foto Fest, Addis Abeba (2016), including fellowship showcases at the Chobi Mela Photography Festival (2017) and Dhaka Art Summit (2016) / She received the Social Justice fellowship of the Magnum Foundation (2019 ) and the Joop Swart Masterclass of World Press Photo (2020) / Her photographs have been published in Daily Star, Lens Culture, Financial Times, British Journal Of Photography and Depart Magazine