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Dana Lixenberg Announced As Deutsche Borse Photography Prize Winner

Dutch photographer Dana Lixenberg has been announced as the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize winner.

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Dana Lixenberg Announced As Deutsche Borse Photography Prize Winner: Dana Lixenberg

'Wilteysha', 1993, © Dana Lixenberg


Dutch photographer Dana Lixenberg has won the twentieth edition of the Deutsche Borse Photography Foundation Prize at London’s Photographers’ Gallery, for her multifaceted portrait of the residents and community of the Imperial Courts housing project in Watts, Los Angeles.

Lixenberg started her project IMPERIAL COURTS (1993 - 2015) after the Los Angeles riots and has revisited and expanded her project over the following twenty-two years. In contrast to the often one-dimensional and sensationalised media coverage, Lixenberg takes a more controlled and formal photographic approach, “slowing things down” - as she puts it. The project includes images from different years that follow the trajectories of individual stories. Over time, lives have been lost, people have disappeared or gone to jail, and the children of early photographs, have grown up and had children of their own. In later visits, Lixenberg started using audio and video recording to document the conversations and specific soundtrack of the neighbourhood. In this way, Imperial Courts charts the effects of a complex and evocative passage of time on an underserved community.

Dana Lixenberg Announced As Deutsche Borse Photography Prize Winner: Dana Lixenberg

'Fresh Real Flave and 4Doe', 2008 © Dana Lixenberg

Imperial Courts (1993-2015), is published by Roma Publications (2015); the project also exists online as a web documentary, a multimedia space developed with collaborator Eefje Blankevoort.

Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery and non-voting chair of the 2017 jury, said: "We are delighted to announce this year’s winner as Dana Lixenberg. This comprehensive and measured series impressed all of the judges through its affirmation of photography’s power to address important ideas through pure image. Lixenberg’s work is simultaneously understated and emphatic, reflecting a cool sobriety, which allows her subjects to own the gaze and their contexts without sentimentality or grandiosity. Originally presented in book format, each portrait operates as a self-contained story. Dana Lixenberg has expertly harnessed the photographic medium to rethink stereotypical representation and empower a community with direct voice and visibility." 

Dana Lixenberg Announced As Deutsche Borse Photography Prize Winner: Dana Lixenberg

'J 50' 2008 © Dana Lixenberg

Anne-Marie Beckmann, Director, Deutsche Borse Photography Foundation, said: “We would like to congratulate Dana Lixenberg as the winner of the Deutsche Borse Photography Foundation Prize 2017 and also thank The Photographers’ Gallery for the terrific partnership we have enjoyed for many years. On its’ twentieth anniversary, we are proud that the Prize has become one of the most prestigious awards in contemporary art. We are particularly pleased that the exhibition is touring internationally – and that it will open at Frankfurt’s MMK Museum fur Moderne Kunst this summer and subsequently at the Aperture Foundation in New York - the first US exhibition of the Prize.”

Dana Lixenberg (b. 1964, Netherlands) lives and works in New York and Amsterdam. She studied photography at the London College of Printing and at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. Lixenberg works on long-term projects, mostly focused on individuals and communities on the margins of society. These include Jeffersonville, Indiana, a collection of landscapes and portraits of the small town’s homeless population, and The Last Days of Shishmaref, which documents an Inupiaq community on an eroding island off the coast of Alaska. The power of her work is found in the intimacy of her images and the absence of social stereotyping. 

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