The EMOP Berlin – European Month of Photography is Germany’s largest biennial festival of photographic images. The current edition marks its 10th run. Unlike previous years, this edition will take place in the spring, beginning in March of 2023 with the anniversary exhibition Touch. Politiken der Berührung (The Politics of Touch) and the EMOP Opening Days. As with previous editions, Berlin’s museums, cultural institutions, galleries, training locations, project spaces, and artists continue to be the key players in this open festival format.
100 exhibitions will be on view throughout the month of March, offering visitors an opportunity to get to know the range of ways in which the medium of photography can present visually and be used, whether in exhibitions of historical images or in new artistic productions. To start off, the EMOP Opening Days offer an extensive program of talks, panel discussions, book presentations, etc. designed to discuss the medium’s urgent issues and to bring together the various local and international scenes in Berlin, Europe, and the world.
We’re taking the anniversary year of EMOP Berlin’s 10th run as an opportunity to focus on the Berlin scene in particular and to put on a major show to generate visibility for the city’s national and international artists. Touch is the theme of this anniversary exhibition as well as the Month of Photography’s overall leitmotif. More than anything, Touch expresses a desire for connection or for a continuation of contact – as in to keep in touch. But the motif extends even further: how do images touch us, and what are the mechanisms of being touched that exert their effect in art? What role does the new user logic play here, i.e., with touch screen devices and so on? The exhibition and various partner institutions will investigate these aspects in depth.
Additionally, an extensive supporting program invites viewers to visit nearly all of Berlin’s districts. The focus here is twofold: on the one hand, it’s on the wide range of photographic archives of historical images, and on the other, the locations of the latest image production – in other words, the training centres in and around Berlin.
Yet the wide-ranging program of the EMOP Berlin’s 10th edition seeks to convey even more: the festival not only shows the current range in international photographic work in Berlin and how it’s presented in galleries, institutions, and the city’s numerous project spaces; it also demonstrates that Berlin has an important voice in terms of photography’s social and artistic presence and its theoretical discourse, which needs to be (even) more thoroughly examined within the festival’s framework than before. We look forward to taking on this challenge – and presenting the results to you.
Jury Statement for the EMOP Berlin 2023
“A good part of the world is coming to Berlin for the 10th edition of the European Month of Photography” (Andreas Rost)
The jury for the biannual festival of photography opening in March 2023 has selected around 100 partner institutions for participation. 130 applications were received in response to the open call, including submissions from museums and municipal galleries, privately run galleries and project spaces, embassies and cultural institutions, as well as photography schools, colleges, and universities. Approximately 70% of the applications involved direct references to the festival anniversary’s theme “touch.” The submissions data also showed that the female artist/photographer applicants slightly outnumbered their male colleagues; this ratio is reflected in the jury’s final selection.
What is striking here is the global perspective, which is not only evident from the wide spectrum of nationalities among the artists/photographers taking part, but also in the range of themes they bring to the festival. The large number of collectives and jointly organized spaces that applied, as well as the many participatory and/or collaborative projects, was seen by the jury as a sign of the times, in which for many cultural workers, grassroots democratic cooperation seems to be the means of choice. Works by contemporary artists and photographers clearly outweighed exhibitions of historical images.
One thing the jury took note of with some surprise was a relative hesitation to submit explicitly political bodies of work. Both the war that erupted in Europe this past spring and a heightened awareness of the climate crisis nevertheless mark turning points that call for active involvement, for taking a stance. Not least because jury work today always means rethinking the existing selection standards and reassessing criteria, particularly in light of such dramatic extra-artistic developments. The decision-making process must also, however, take the circumstances surrounding the creation of photography and art into consideration, as well as the existing possibilities for showing the work. As a result, the upcoming 10th edition of the EMOP Berlin will present a wide range of photography in terms of content, concepts, and institutions, as well as a diversity of artistic voices.
The members of this year’s jury were: Özlem Altin (visual artist, Berlin), Maren Lübbke-Tidow (artistic director, EMOP Berlin), Katia Reich (head of the photographic collection, Berlinische Galerie), Andreas Rost (photographer, artistic assistant at the Weissensee Academy of Art, Berlin), Wolfgang Ullrich (art historian, cultural studies scholar, freelance author, Leipzig / Munich).
Network. Berlin and its European Partners
EMOP Berlin is a member of the European Month of Photography (EMOP), a European joint project that includes photo festivals in Brussels, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Paris, and Vienna. The idea of creating a European network of photo festivals was born in 2003 on the initiative of Berlin’s partner city, Paris. The aim of the joint project is to promote cooperation at the European level, strengthen the international photographic scene, intensify the exchange of information and experience, and to support young artists. The results of this collaboration include jointly conceived contemporary photography exhibitions that are tailored to the partner cities of the EMOP network.
Eligibility Requirements for EMOP Berlin
Museums, cultural institutions, and galleries from Berlin and Potsdam professionally involved with photography can take part in the EMOP Berlin. Individual photographers are not eligible.
The next edition of EMOP Berlin will take place in March 2025. The Open Call for participation will be published in summer 2024.