Liz Johnson Artur’s practice includes photography, film, and installation. Her ongoing body of work Black Balloon Archive (past & future), is an accumulation of images spanning over 30 years which captures moments of people and spaces encountered around the world. Throughout her practice, Johnson Artur has used both photography and printmaking to interact with the stories found within her images whilst also exploring the print as a medium to preserve her photographs in their uniqueness. This exploration and close relationship between photography and printmaking, in both traditional and experimental forms, is a key part of experiencing the works created within her archive and one which we would be honoured to express in collotype.
– Takumi Suzuki CEO of Benrido, Inc.
I often refer to my practice as a way of collecting stories. I have always shot analogue and printed throughout a lot, to actually see and interact these stories. Photography can achieve an uniqueness through print. One of the principal aims, of what I call my ‘archive’, is to preserve my photographs in their uniqueness. The tool of reproducing photographs in print is a constant exploration of how to create this ‘oneness’. My first beginnings of making prints happened in a b&w darkroom. It was the first place I could build for myself, and access as freely as taking pictures. This close relationship between photographing and printing allowed me to grow my archive. Visually and also physically (fiber based prints, but also printing on books, fabric or wood) To me, deciding how to print a photograph(s) is born out of finding the right presentation, in order to tell a story. It is the idea of creating a visual narrative, that can also be explored through the material quality of the print(s). In a way I see myself as a travel photographer, I travel to get my pictures, but once I arrive at the picture, I look at it in the same context as a studio shot. There is a focus from me because I work with film. I don’t really do any cropping so when I take the picture, that’s it. It’s a certain moment, it’s not just catching it, but actually stopping it. Yet in also understanding the moments as fluid and fluid I never name place and location.
Liz Johnson Artur (b. 1964, Bulgaria) is a Ghanaian- Russian artist, who lives and works in London. Her practice includes photography, film and installation works, capturing and engaging with people for more than 30 years. She went to the Royal College in London for an MA in Fine Art after studying photography at the Bayerische Staatslehranstalt für Fotografie in Munich. She is working analogue ever since, also printing in her own darkroom. Johnson Artur has exhibited internationally, including group shows at the Barbican, London; Serpentine Galleries, London; The Photographer’s Gallery, London; 10th Berlin Biennale; David Nolan Gallery, NY and Kunstverein Leipzig. In 2019, she had solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum in New York and the South London Gallery in London. In June 2020 she was selected as a recepient of the Turner Burseries, in 2017 she was nominated for the Aimia | AGO Photography Prize. Her monograph with Bierke Verlag was listed by The New York Times in ‘Best Photo Books 2016.’