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Tomorrow of Yesterday

Having recently co-curated the group exhibition 'A Room of One's Own', featuring Stefanie Moshammer as one of the participating artists at Wetterling Gallery in Stockholm, we catch up with her about recent work and turn of events in her practice, picking the conversation up where we left off in a past interview last spring.

Stefanie Moshammer

C-P: We recently had a great experience with you with 'A Room of One's Own', a group show at Wetterling Gallery. So much has happened for you since we last spoke in an interview. You were shortlisted for the Unseen Talent Award 2017 and presented a series of work titled 'One, Two, Three (Evolution)'. I found in many ways the choice to be bold, to reflect and mirror such universal notion as the course of human life in one triptych. Tell me about your experience with Unseen.

S.M: The experience was pretty good. We had Nadav Kander as a mentor and I enjoyed his contribution. Instead of giving clear answers, he raised questions and he made us question our own work. All five finalists had a completely different approach to the topic and to photography in general, which was great. The theme we were working around was 'Common Ground'.

My aim was to find parallels in the contrasts; to see similarities in the dissimilar – that form common ground. The three pieces I created, function as a mirror of our cultural diversity. Starting with the most native as the birth, what is represented through the two pregnant woman but also in the symbol of the sea shells. Even the most pure thing, doesn’t stay unaffected. The plastic bottles between the sea shells are like a metaphor for the coherent impact we have on the world. I shot this image in Haiti. And then there is the money which basically rules our existence. It's an image I shot in Las Vegas. The triptych helps to create a dialogue between the three images I think.

Stefanie Moshammer, One, Two, Three (Evolution)

C-P: Your new book 'Land of Black Milk' was just released at Unseen and makes for a beautiful artist book covering your work from Rio de Janeiro, and like always with your work is contextualized shrewdly with words, conveying your perception and experience of the city you've spent time working in. It comes in a fairly limited edition. How do you relate to the artist book as an artistc medium to extend your body of work?

S.M: Aside from artwork - which mostly exists in a limited edition - a book opens up to the audience, especially because of the lower costs at which you can purchase a book. I like it that my work is available for everyone and isn't only restricted to a certain audience.

Also, aside from digital overload, I find it quite charming that a book gives your work a longer lifespan. It allows another kind of significance I think, forming a group of images into one piece. Text always plays a certain role in my work. I try to extend the viewers experience while seeing the visuals. 'Land of Black Milk' is published through Skinnerbox and Federico Carpani was the one that did the design of the book.

Stefanie Moshammer 'Land of Black Milk', published by Skinnerbox, design by Federico Carpani

C-P: Your most recent body that you are finishing up springs out of travels to Haiti and is titled 'Tomorrow of Yesterday'. About it you've offered the words "Nothing great is created suddenly, but anything is destroyed all of a sudden. Creation is destruction, destruction is creation." Haiti being a place where infrastructure has entirely been in havoc must made for a very challenging place to work. What are you aiming to show from there and what was your day-to-day experience there like?

S.M: The images from 'Tomorrow of Yesterday' spring from Haiti, mainly from the island Île-à-Vache. I got access to the place through the organisation Flying High for Haiti and was there 2016 and 2017. While there, I was reseraching the notions of paradise, between Western ideals, yesterday’s promises and the everyday life of the people who live there.

The series moves between tradition and nostalgia to destruction and pollution of the place. The series is exhibited right now for the first time in Miami. The pieces there were fundraised through an auction. All funds supported Flying High for Haiti and by that support the people we met and documented in Haiti, who got affected through hurricane Matthew. Also, I receveived the Florentne Riem Vis Grant this year, which also leads to an exhibition at Foam Photography Museum. The opening of 'Tomorrow of Yesterday' will be Nov 16 and will on show at Foam 3h in Amsterdam until mid of January. Aside from photography, I’ll also show video work.

Stefanie Moshammer, from 'Tomorrow of Yesterday'

C-P: I want to take a moment to talk about your commercial works that runs on the side of your artistic practice. It's lovely to see how closely your commissioned work intersects with your own. I often get the feeling you could select any image and just put it right into a gallery space and it would feel in place there, which is to say something.

S.M: Whether commissioned or self-initiated, to me it doesn't really matter so much in terms of the visuals. If you found your own visual language, you're able to apply it to anything I guess. Content-wise I prefer producing my own work beause it gives me more flexibility and also it seems to be more significant. Starting with photography, I've never had so much the "commercial" or "art" industry in the back of my mind. When I'm starting a work, I'm just doing it, without restricting myself so much.

Stefanie Moshammer, from 'Tomorrow of Yesterday'

C-P: Another recent achievement of yours was winning C/O Berlin's Talent Award recently which means you will be doing a solo show there next year. What will you be presenting?

S.M: This is still in discussion actually. It might be my series 'I Can Be Her' but extended with a mix of other images as well.

Stefanie Moshammer 'Land of Black Milk', published by Skinnerbox, design by Federico Carpani

C:P: Lastly, what are some of your plans for next year, in 2018?

S.M: I will perhaps be working on a project in Feb/March - won't say where yet, but will be in Europe this time. A city that is considered the cradle of civilizations and I’m very much looking forward to it. March 2018 will be the opening of the exhibition in C/O Berlin, as a result of winning the C/O Berlin Talent Award. Also, it would be great if the series 'Tomorrow of Yesterday' was to be exhibited in different places. This is still in process. And there are already a few talks and lectures scheduled on my part for 2018.

Stefanie Moshammer's exhibition Tomorrow of Yesterday opens November 16 (through January 14) at foam museum in Amsterdam

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