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Romain Mader (CH) wins Foam Paul Huf Award 2017
Bientôt (Soon), from the series Ekaterina, 2012 © Romain Mader / ECAL

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Romain Mader (CH) wins Foam Paul Huf Award 2017

“Funny, naive, absurd and light-hearted"


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Romain Mader (1988, Switzerland) was chosen as the winner of the eleventh Foam Paul Huf Award 2017 today. This annual prize, given to a photography talent under 35 years, consists of €20.000 and an exhibition at Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam. Mader wins the prize for his series Ekaterina, a narrative in which he seeks a bride in the imaginary city of Ekaterina.

The Foam Paul Huf Award continues to attract portfolios from all over the world. The jury chose Romain Mader from a pool of 100 nominated photographers, from 25 countries worldwide.

The jury report states: “Romain Mader’s Ekatarina is notable for the humour and irony with which he addresses serious issues: solitude, love, exploitation and the female body. In this Chinese box of a project, each layer opens to reveal a new interpretive possibility. What is real here, and what is fiction? In the invented Ukrainian town of Ekaterina, mysteriously populated only by women, Mader - or the character he plays - looks for love. Unremarkable in appearance, he spends time with aspiring models and beauty queen hopefuls, frozen behind their smiles.

In a slick style familiar from commercial snapshots, social media and tourist material, we are drawn into a world of exploited women, mail-order brides, sexual tourism, and pervasive media attention. But Mader’s depiction is funny, naive, absurd, light-hearted, and it is this contrast between the subject and its exploration that gives Ekaterina its unexpectedly moving power.

The jury was delighted to recognize Romain Mader’s already completed work as well as his significant promise with the 2017 Foam Paul Huf Award. We strongly believe that he is an artist of remarkable sensibility and subtlety, and that he is destined to be a notable voice in contemporary photography.”

Director of Foam, Marloes Krijnen: “One of Foam’s primary objectives is to discover and support photography talent and therefore this award, along with the Foam Magazine Talent Issue are very important to us. We are proud to be able to add Romain Mader, afantastic young photographer, to the impressive list of winners of the Foam Paul Huf Award, as the eleventh winner. Mader’s work absolutely belongs to this list, and we are looking forward to organising his exhibition at Foam later this year.”

The announcement of the Foam Paul Huf Award 2017 winner coincides with the opening of the exhibition of last year’s winner. The exhibition Matter, by the Japanese photographer Daisuke Yokota will be officially opened by Lucy Conticello (chair Foam Paul Huf Award 2017) tonight at Foam, in the presence of the artist. The work of Romain Mader will be on show at Foam at the end of 2017.

The members of the Foam Paul Huf Award 2017 jury were:
Lucy Conticello, chair (director of photography, M, Le Magazine du Monde, France)
Gregory Barker (publisher, STANLEY/BARKER, United Kingdom)
Teju Cole (writer, photographer and photo critic, The New York Times Magazine, United States)
Shi Hantao (research director, Shanghai Project, China)
Maddalena Scarzella (gallery manager, Galleria Carla Sozzani, Italy).