At this year’s edition of Unseen Amsterdam, we will be focusing on themes of collective working practices and collaboration, which we feel are key elements of working in photography today. In a new programme element introduced this year, we are pleased to announce Unseen CO-OP, which will showcase the work of thirteen exciting artist collectives from around the world. In CO-OP Insights, we talk to each group as a way of helping you find out more about what they do and why they do it.
This week, we sit down with GUSH Collective, a photography collective based in Brussels. Established by Han Chen, Ichraf Nasri, Marion Tylec and Justyna Wierzchowiecka, GUSH questions the idea of uniqueness and authenticity of the photographic medium. For CO-OP, they will build up a multilayered exhibition combining the installation of meta-photographs, an artist’s studio, catalogues and an audio guide.
What is the main reason why you started the collective?
We all studied together at La Cambre in Brussels. We became friends and started working together on our respective projects, sharing ideas about photography and art, as well as helping each other with production. Creating a collective and working on collaborative projects was completely natural for us and soon working together became a necessity.
What makes you different from other collectives?
GUSH is first and foremost a group of friends who are obsessed with imagery and who constantly discuss photography. Even though we question the state of contemporary photography, it always comes from a standpoint of fascination rather than negativity. We enjoy meeting up and talking for hours, where we brainstorm and write down ideas. Everything we show is distinctively GUSH because we make all the images together, they belong to all of us. It is also extremely important to us that every member is good at something different. Han is incredible at production and always asks good questions, Ichraf has crazy artistic ideas and is not afraid to question us, Justyna has a very clean theoretical vision, and Marion is the rational and aesthetic voice amongst the madness!
Could you give us an insight into what you have in store for Unseen CO-OP 2017
Expect some art-fair and meta-photography. Expect a catalogue that is an art object, art pieces that are works in progress, and works that play with what is typically ‘unseen’.
See all of the participating CO-OP collectives here