The FOUND PHOTO FOUNDATION is an artist led curatorial platform for the study and care of orphan photographs. There are multiple reasons these photographs became orphaned: they may have been abandoned following the death of their owners, they may have been stolen, or they may have simply ceased to be useful and thrown in the garbage, from where they may have been rescued and put back on the market.
Organised in informal collections, the photographs are used for study, workshops, publications and exhibitions. Creative research methods allow to unravel the diverse meanings of collecting, exhibiting and publishing orphan photography. The collections are also a source for the ORPHAN Editions. Each Orphan edition explores a particular approach to publishing the printed material in the Found Photo Foundation collections.
As archival artwork, in the medium of exhibitions and publications, the FOUNDATION investigates the archive as the site of an ongoing negotiation between the appropriation of photo-historical material and accumulative strategies of installation and publication. To date such research has produced several projects where strategies of photographic reproduction and distribution are scrutinised as particular modes of knowledge production that
whilst engaged in the creation of archival art are far apart from the 19th century model of bureaucratic archive.
In the exhibition “Dear Aby Warburg: What can be done with images? Dealing with
Photographic Material” (2012), the FOUND PHOTO FOUNDATION was exhibited as an experimental archive. It explored the use of photographic collections in contemporary art, and its many transmutations since Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas (1924-1929). The homage to art-historian Aby Warburg (1866 – 1929) as precursor to current art archival practices is unpacked by the exhibition’s curator Eva Schmidt, in the accompanying research publication. The montage of reproduced photographs from divergent sources, the use of variable, nonsystematic ordering parameters, and the extremely provisional display strategies are some of the Mnemosyne Atlas’ characteristics that reappear in contemporary works in the exhibition, and in the processes of photographic collection, accumulation and archiving used in the FOUND PHOTO FOUNDATION.
Today, the Found Photo Foundation is located in the msdm house-studio-gallery and open to anyone who is interested, by arrangement. Please call or send an email to make an appointment.