Unseen and Lecturis are delighted to announce that Malgorzata Stankiewicz is the winner of this year’s Unseen Dummy Award! Showcasing compelling photobook designs from exceptional artists all over the world, the Unseen Dummy Award grants a winner the opportunity to have their photobook published and distributed on an international scale, positioning their work within the global photobook industry. Stankiewicz‘s photobook is titled Cry of an Echo.
This year’s international jury was comprised of Paul van Mameren (Managing Director of Lecturis), Ann-Christin Bertrand (Curator of C/O Berlin), Rémi Coignet (Editor-in-Chief at The Eyes Magazine), Delphine Bledel (Artist and Publisher at Meta/Books) and Dieter De Lathauwer (Unseen Dummy Award Winner 2016).
Unseen Dummy Award Winner 2017 Malgorzata Stankiewicz © Iris Duvekot
For centuries, against all odds, Poland’s Bialowieza Forest withstood the barbarian human behaviour within its grounds. Yet earlier last year, under the pretense of its protection, the new Polish Environment Minister Jan Szyszko approved a large scale logging project in the forest's buffer zone. With so much being said about the environment in recent years, especially in regards to our exigent and long overdue need to protect it, Europe's last primeval forest is being slain while the rest of the world looks away. Cry of an Echo is my protest – my personal voice of opposition – the images a metaphor for my torment. It is my silent shout. The images, which were shot on film during my month-long residency as a volunteer at the Bialowieza National Park in Spring 2016, are scans of gelatin silver print enlargements that were intentionally mistreated by masking, uneven development, chemical contamination and severe bleaching. I also worked with India Ink, which is often used for retouching negatives, in attempt to retouch parts of the images – mostly the trees. While all the photographs and resulting prints are indeed black-and-white, some of them have shifted in colour due to contamination and bleaching. The final 46 images are a selection from over 200 prints created in this manner. While all the images were created between May and December 2016, the project was recently concluded with a handmade artist book. Spanning 96 pages, the volume is printed on Japanese sumi-e paper, traditionally used in Far Eastern brush painting, dealing mostly with subjects taken from nature. Extremely thin and delicate, but nevertheless robust and long-lasting, this paper's unique quality further references the woods and forest. The book is hand-bound with India ink-stained thread, and the entire volume is enveloped in a translucent jacket.
Our final selection consists of two books. These two projects address contemporary social and political issues in a unique form that is both personal and poetical. The two book dummies are handmade, both have very interesting ways of translating difficult topics into a book, working with different layered images and narratives.
The jury is honoured to grant the Unseen Dummy Award 2017 to Cry of an Echo by Malgorzata Stankiewicz (PL/CH). This year we decided to give a Special Mention to the second book dummy, which is Internal Notebook by Miki Hasegawa (JP).
Cry of an Echo is a handmade photobook dummy about the last remaining primeval forest in Poland, the Bialowieza National Park. A change of legislation in 2016 is now threatening its existence by allowing intensive logging of the trees. The artist processes her images by masking, uneven development, chemical contamination and severe bleaching. By doing so, she succeeds to translate a certain sense of loss.
Internal Notebook by Miki Hasegawa addresses domestic violence against children in Japan through portraits, still life photographs, family pictures and personal narratives. Bringing together a complex story through multi-layered narratives, the artist tells a story from multiple perspectives.
What is remarkable about both book dummies is that the artists invent their very own visual language to express complex social and political issues. Both projects succeed to convey their story with strength and emotion. They also stand out by their unique poetic and haptic qualities and craft.
We are delighted that Lecturis will publish the winning dummy Cry of an Echo, and we hope that the special mention will contribute for the dummy Internal Notebook to find its audience.
We also would like to thank all the artists who submitted their dummies.