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The Talent Award 2020

The newly established Talent Award goes to AnneMette Elmelund (born 1984) for her photo series Partus (2019). The jury has taken it upon itself to help define the purpose of this award and thus the Talent Award is presented to an artist who is in the early phase of her artistic career and has recently had her first show.

AnneMette Elmelund is a midwife and fine art photographer and has, from this unique position, had the opportunity – and courage – to chart aspects of an otherwise closed world, providing a self-possessed photographic documentary perspective. Flesh and boughs, hair and roots are juxtaposed as patterns and organic forms of life and temporality.

A child’s path into the world is presented in a combination of pictorial components of birth and nature. Concrete and abstract at one and the same time.

The jury was struck by Partus’, at once, abstract and very sensuous and intimate expression. With a sure photographic eye, Elmelund documents the emergence of the child from the female genitals which are portrayed as a glistening landscape. The pictures juxtapose and counterpose the force of nature with sectional shots of trees, bark, and water in a synthesis of images where the beginning of life dissolves into nature.

This is courageous photographic art. It is moving, offensive, beautiful, violent, and tangible. The eternal questions of life hit viewers with a physical force. Birth, life, and temporality are stripped of taboo.

Partus revitalises and updates the documentary exploration of the female body and birth as natural elements of women’s lives begun in the 1970s. AnneMette Elmelund’s photographic images are objectified, void of pain, and point to humankind’s existence in the world as transitory nature.

The images are a part of a small book featuring photographs of births and nature.

The jury anticipates with interest AnneMette Elmelund’s exploration of the photographic potential and rethinking of the bodily focus of the 70s and hope she will engage in new important examinations of the meaning of life through photography.

On behalf of this year’s jury

Kirse Junge-Stevnsborg
Director, Malmö Art Museum