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Women photographers under the gaze at Foundation A’s 10th anniversary show

Fondation A Gabriele und Helmut Nothhelfer
15:22 23/09/2022

For its 10th anniversary, Brussels’ A Foundation presents the work of 19 female photographers from across the globe in Women’s Perspectives.

Dating from the 1920s and originating from Europe, North and South America and Africa, they display a startling array of subject matter and techniques, while sharing a commitment to their communities and to questioning social justice, femininity and the environment.

Fondation A

For only the second time in the foundation’s history, all the photos are from founder Astrid Ullens de Schooten Whettnall’s personal collection.

She explains why it was important to show them: “I collected many of them years ago. Some I haven’t seen for 20 years. It’s one thing to have them in the cupboard, but to take them out and put them on the wall is something completely different. I think okay, I didn’t make a mistake.”

Fondation A

Among them are works by photographer and teacher Lisette Model, who documented the presence on New York streets the haves and have-nots in the 1940s. Her most famous pupil, Diane Arbus, is also represented with works of psycho-social intensity that focus on marginalised groups and individuals.

German photographer Ursula Schulz-Dornburg  is selected for her evocative series of portraits of abandoned palaces along the Bosphorus, dating from the 1970s. Her compatriots Gabriele and Helmut Nothhelfer photographed public events in Berlin; single portraits with a cinematographic aura.

One of the seven photographers from Latin America, Chilean Paz Errázuriz, was deeply affected by the Pinochet dictatorship and travelled the length of the country risking imprisonment or worse to photograph illegal people.

Fondation A

The exhibition, curated by Béatrice Andrieux, takes viewers on 19 different voyages presenting a wide spectrum of depictions of the world. For Ullens de Schooten Whettnall, there’s also a unifying thematic to their work.

“It’s important to show that women are not only creative but really engaged in what they believe in social life, in political life, and that their work is completely different from men. It disturbs and unites and they often have a common state of mind between the duty of remembrance, communitarianism, the non-politically correct and provocation,” she says.

Foundation A Stichting is a cultural platform in the capital dedicated to the photographic image. It also forms partnerships for exhibition and book projects in collaboration with other institutions.

Women’s Perspectives
24 September to 18 December
Foundation A Stichting
Avenue Van Volxem 304 (Forest)

Photos: (main image) New York 1940 © Helen Levitt; Mujeres Presas 1991-1993 © Adriana Lestido; Mona Park, Allentown, Pennsylvania 1996 © Judith Joy Ross; Madonna, Ciudad de México 1980 © Graciela Iturbide





Written by Richard Harris