Theo Simpson's Third Shock II Mk2. One of the images on show in Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020

Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020

Work by the winners of the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020 is on show now.

New photographic commissions by Silvia Rosi and Theo Simpson are on display at Jerwood Arts, London, until March 8.

A national tour will follow.

Both artists explore the idea of history through their photographic practices, crossing themes of family, industry, identity and architecture.

Over the past 12 months, supported by expert mentors, including artist Roger Palmer and curator Renée Mussai, they have created new bodies of work.

Speaking at the preview, Lilli Geissendorfer, director of Jerwood Arts, described this year’s awards as ‘Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2.0’.

She said this year’s awards had been ‘more experimental and more open’.

Silvia Rosi

Rosi’s work explores her personal family history drawing on her Togolaise heritage, and the idea of origins.

Her mother, who has been the source of inspiration for much of her previous work, plays a central role in this project, as well as her father, and their experiences of migration from Togo in West Africa to Italy.

Rosi is informed by this history and her position as a European looking in on her family heritage.

Partially inspired by the West African studio portrait, the project also includes a visual deconstruction of head carrying techniques.

This practice has its own histories, skills, rituals and aesthetics, and a strong connection to Rosi’s own family history.

This exhibition also includes new examples of colour and black and white photography, as well as works where she explores working with video for the first time.

Theo Simpson

Simpson’s practice is drawn from the evolving environments and elements of the world we live in today.

The notion of landscape is expanded through an intersect of theory, fact and myth, oscillating between topological studies, technological innovation, social analysis and a speculation of the future.

His work navigates between real and imagined worlds – pictures of human possibility, political impulses and economic transformations.

Made by both hand and machine, each piece is self-contained.

They incorporate photographic and engineering techniques alongside other mediums and disciplines such as sculpture, drawing and printmaking.

‘Develop and thrive’

“The Jerwood/Photoworks Awards is a key part of our mission to support outstanding artists from across the UK to develop and thrive at a pivotal point in their practice,” said Geissendorfer.

“Over the past 12 months Silvia and Theo have been developing distinctive bodies of work that explore history and identity through family, industry and place; considering the unique role of photography in giving voice to these subjects.”

Shoair Mavlian, director of Photoworks, said: “The Jerwood/Photoworks Awards is an important part of our programme and in 2020 will be an exciting start to our 25th anniversary year.

“The award gives opportunities to talented early career artists and helps to cultivate the exploration, expansion and development of their practices.

“Silvia Rosi and Theo Simpson’s work stood out to us for numerous reasons.

“What is so exciting this year in this year’s recipients is that for both Silvia and Theo what is central to their practices is how photography integrates other mediums.”

Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020

Presented every two years, the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards are open to UK-based artists using photography who are within 10 years of establishing their practice.

The award gives £10,000 to each of the recipients to develop new work to exhibit at Jerwood Arts, London, and on the subsequent UK tour.

They also receive a production fund of £5,000 and mentoring from an international panel of experts for at least 12 months.

The awards particularly seek to encourage artists and photographers exploring new approaches to photography and experimental practice.

This year’s awards saw more than 450 submissions following an open call.

The selection panel for the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020 is: Aaron Schuman, artist; Marta Weiss, curator of photographs at V&A Museums; Shama Khanna, freelance curator and writer; Shoair Mavlian, director of Photoworks; and Lilli Geissendorfer, director of Jerwood Arts.

Spectrum Photographic is the print partner for the awards.

The exhibition is on at Jerwood Arts, London, until March 8.

It is accompanied by a free events programme and a full-colour publication including newly commissioned writing about the artists’ work.

Works will then tour the UK.

Main image: Third Shock II Mk2 © Theo Simpson

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