Kultur Magazine 29: 2019

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TO COMMEMORATE THE GLOBAL INFLUENCE OF THE BAUHAUS AND TO MARK ITS 100TH ANNIVERSARY, BAUHAUS FOTO 2019 IN BALLARAT WILL BRING TOGETHER LEADING INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS WORKING WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHIC SPIRIT INSTILLED BY THE BAUHAUS. In collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale (BIFB) will include a group exhibition featuring Lilly Lulay from Germany and a curators’ forum and international professional development with Celina Lunsford, Director of Fotografie Forum Frankfurt (FFF). kultur: During your trip to Europe last year, you visited several German organisations and experts in the field of contemporary photography. What inspired you most? FIONA SWEET: The commitment to the photographic art form was the most inspiring. Creating successful centres and institutions dedicated to photography is an extremely hard task, and many of the institutions I visited had wonderful archives, presented highly engaged and socially aware exhibitions and had strong community and industry support. Best of all, the directors and the curators were extremely generous in their willingness to collaborate and share. For example, the remarkable NRW Forum and The Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, alongside the Forum for Photography in Köln were exceptional galleries. kultur: Most Australians focus on Berlin as the go-to place for arts and culture in Germany. You have travelled all around the country meeting people like Celina Lunsford, artistic director of Fotografie Forum Frankfurt and guest of this year’s biennale. How did you decide where to visit? FS: I was fortunate to receive international development funding from the Ian Potter Foundation in Australia to research photographic European festival best practice. My research specifically addressed the festival-artist professional relationship, alongside how the geographic location of a festival impacts its engagement with artist and audiences. As the director of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, located in regional Australia one hour from Melbourne — which is often considered Australia’s cultural centre — I was specifically interested in festival locations outside those of major cities and how they mobilise audiences to

attend. This led me to RAY Fotografieprojekte Frankfurt and the Triennale der Photographie Hamburg. Secondly, my organisation had just recently purchased a grand 19th century building in the city centre of Ballarat. This will become the new home of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale alongside the National Centre For Photography, a dedicated contemporary photography gallery, Australia’s only regional gallery dedicated to photography. This is an extremely exciting time for the organisation as we generate and implement the vision for this new institution. One area of interest is creating a collection. This led me to visiting Cologne, Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Frankfurt and even small towns outside the larger cities which had beautiful galleries, like Darmstadt and Wiesbaden. kultur: For this year’s biennale, you were keen to invite photographers and experts working in the tradition of the Bauhaus. Why is Bauhaus photography important for Ballarat? FS: 2019 will mark the momentous occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the highly influential Bauhaus school in Weimar, Germany in 1919. The tentacles of the Bauhaus school and its subsequent artistic movement have inspired many artists, predominately western, throughout the globe. Whether aware of it or not, art and design from the Bauhaus school is integrated into the art and design of the world to this day. Bauhaus was and still is one of the most significant art movements of the 20th century. Importantly, and in the context of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, photography was not initially embraced at the Bauhaus as an artistic medium in its own right, rather as a mechanism to document the creation of other art forms. The internationally acclaimed artist and Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy adapted the Bauhaus doctrine in its latter years to incorporate the vision of the photographic medium, resulting in the proliferation of Bauhaus photographic experimentation. In recent years