London Art Reviews

Magazine of art press and reviews from London

Spasibo photo exhibition by Davide Monteleone at the Saatchi Gallery, London.

Tuesday, 4th November 2014.

All images © Davide Monteleone, VII Photo, for the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award

All images © Davide
Monteleone, VII Photo, for the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award

It was a very interesting exhibition, Spasibo by photojournalist Davide Monteleone, at the Saatchi Gallery, London. Organised by the Carmignac Foundation, the exhibition Spasibo presented photographs illustrating life in Chechnya. The Saatchi gallery exhibition was by Italian photojournalist Davide Monteleone, who won the 4th edition of the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award. Monteleone was funded to work in Chechnya between December 2012 and April 2013.

An outcome of the collaboration between the Saatchi Gallery and the Carmignac Foundation, the exhibition Spasibo celebrates launch of this very important photography award in the UK. It is the first time the images of Monteleone about Chechnya have been shown in the UK.

The work of Davide Monteleone explores the social, political and economic realities of Chechnya, which was destroyed by war and extreme violence under the autocratic regime of Ramzan Kadyrov, Head of the Chechen Republic. Spasibo is the Russian word for “thank you” and can be seen as an ironic gesture of gratitude to Chechnya’s oppressors. Highlights of the exhibition include Rada, 14, trying on a wedding dress, as well as Monteleone’s arresting image of wrestlers in a gym being watched by Vladimir Putin, Ramzan Kadyrov and Akhmad Kadyrov, whose portraits hang overhead.

Davide Monteleone (born 1974) began his career in 2000, when he became an editorial photographer for the Contrasto agency. The following year he moved to Moscow as a correspondent. Since 2003, Monteleone has lived between Italy and Russia, pursuing long term personal projects. His projects have brought him numerous awards, including various World Press Photo prizes and several grants such as ‘Aftermath’ and the European Publisher Award. In recent years he has carried out projects for leading international magazines, foundations and cultural institutions, exhibiting and teaching.

The Carmignac Foundation launched the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award in 2009 with the aim of supporting and celebrating photojournalism.

Edouard Carmignac, one of the world’s leading asset managers, has been collecting contemporary art for more than 25 years. His strong and variegated collection is housed in the Carmignac Gestion offices on Place Vendôme in Paris and in its international subsidiaries. The Carmignac Foundation was created in 2000. It is led by Gaïa Donzet.

The Foundation runs the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award, an exploratory photojournalism award indicative of the Foundation’s enlightened approach. This distinctive award funds an emerging photographer to visit areas of the world at the centre of geostrategic conflicts, where human rights and freedom of speech are often violated.

The Carmignac Foundation collaborates with the winner throughout the entire project by financing a monograph and curating an international touring exhibition to prestigious locations, including Paris, Milan, Arles, Frankfurt and, finally, London (a new touring destination for 2014). Another commitment is to buy four photographs from the winner’s portfolio, which then enter the Carmignac’s celebrated art collection.

The 6th award is currently open for entries and the theme is Lawless areas in France.

The exhibition Spasibo was at the Saatchi Gallery, Sloane Square, London, from 11th October until 3rd November 2014.

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