Structures of Identity
Photography from The Walther Collection

Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam
6/29/2018 — 8/29/2018

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About the exhibition

Structures of Identity examines how photographers across a range of cultures and historical periods have used their images to affirm or challenge social stereotypes, particularly those constructed around notions of race, gender, class, and nationality. This exhibition includes series and sequences made by artists from Europe, the United States, Latin America, and Africa, as well as documentary and vernacular photography. These efforts reflect a precise and widespread practice of using portraiture within a larger classificatory grid, whose images document the ways that visual forms and archival structures inform social attitudes.

Structures of Identity is a traveling exhibition representing an expansive cross-section of The Walther Collection. It originated in 2017 for a presentation at AIPAD and is tailored to each additional venue, maintaining the same curatorial framework.

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Unidentified Photographer, Circus Performers, ca. 1865–70

Emphasizing the work of artists, professional photographers, amateurs and sitters who use the medium to subvert visual expectations and challenge markers of identification, Structures of Identity questions the notion of a stable, authentic self. In particular, it focuses on how photographers have used serial imagery—related sequences of photographs, rather than individual images—to explore the political and cultural factors that shape individual and collective subjectivities.

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Nontsikelelo "Lolo" Veleko, Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder, 2003

Highlighting the different ways that social identities are regarded within the broader history of the photographic medium, Structures of Identity illustrates the continued efforts of The Walther Collection to discuss and consider the history of photography beyond conventional cultural, geographic, and temporal boundaries.

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Installation views © Christian van der Kooy
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Artworks on display

    Artists on display

    About Foam Fotografiemuseum

    Foam, or Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam, was established in December 2001. It is a photography museum presenting and supporting both emerging artists and established photographers. Every year, the institution organizes up to four large and sixteen smaller, short-run exhibitions featuring different photographic genres, such as documentary, fashion, and fine art. With its museum space in Amsterdam, the award-winning publication Foam Magazine, the Talent Programme, and a growing number of collaborations worldwide, Foam is a beacon for the discovery and development of contemporary photography.


    Foam Fotografiemuseum
    Keizersgracht 609
    The Netherlands
    +31 20 5516500

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