-Where does the collective name emerge from?
While planning our first show, we were brainstorming and I can’t really remember exactly how it went but I think Gianni said something about a ‘minestrone’ or something like that, where you mix all the ingredients in order to achieve something exquisite, then the idea of a big soup came about, so we just loved it: Photo-Soup
-Why did you form the collective?
The project started as a collective just because any group of people that do something together call themselves a ‘collective’ it is funny how many collectives (that don’t last more than months) form every day all over the world, I guess is kind of trendy to say you take part in a collective, we don’t see ourselves as a collective, we like to think of Photo-Soup as a collaborative project where everyone who takes part adds a little, from artists to gallery owners and people helping us with video documentaries, graphics, web design, etc. To answer your question, I would say we started working this way because it made our lives easier, not only we were summing up the photographic talents of the participants but also helping each other in terms of promotion and realisation of the show we worked on.
-While in some photo collectives the number of members is restricted to just a few, in others its constantly expanding in terms of members, have you got any settled rules or agreements in terms of participating members?
Not really, anyone can join as long as they respect and share the collaborative nature of the way we work.
-What kind of collective are you: agency type with a strong interest to approach potential clients or a more curatorial and exhibition interests?
Exhibition and dissemination of works!
-What are the aims and objectives of the collective?
Back when we started our first motto said something like: ‘… our aim is to change the focus of contemporary art in order to re-connect with the wider audience and not just the art world…’ Then as we kept organising shows we kind of struggled to find the formal words to label what we were doing, it was something very interesting but we couldn’t really point what it was. It was after a few meetings and submitting proposals in many places that we started to get some feedback highlighting how anti-curatorial our project was. Then it all became very obvious: we are providing a platform for artists to show their work without the necessity to fit a curatorial premise. Sometimes the opportunities to show work are so limiting that you have to do work that addresses certain issues or fits within certain themes (such as Identity, Gender, The Digital Image, Archives, etc.); you have to photograph in a certain style (Straight, Typological, Tableau, etc.) or you have to be seen to fit in with a certain curatorial agenda based on national or geographic interpretations of photography (Chinese, African, European). We are leaving all that behind, we want to challenge the roll of the curator today and offer an alternative that allows work to be seen differently.
-What are the criteria you use when selecting a space to present work? Are you particular about the spaces you choose to exhibit? And also, how do you adapt to those spaces?
So far we have organised exhibitions in a variety of places, in a post-war bunker, cultural venues and even traditional project spaces or galleries. I would say that what we look for in a venue is that it has a lot of space, so we can work in a way that we are comfortable, offering Artists enough space to present their work as they want. We often work with large scale photographs and projections so we need big walls. We always respond to the space, we try to create a journey for visitors, juxtaposing and linking the work in a way that feels smooth but sometimes surprises you.
-Do you think that the collective functions as a platform to promote each member’s personal career?
Yes definitely, but also promotes the project on its own terms.
Past and Current Collaborators:
Mark Hamilton Gruchy
Barbara van den Heuvel
Marco de los Reyes
Arturo Castillo (web design 2009-2012)
David Femi Olanipekun (video documentary)
Noela Losada (barcelona flyer design)
Carlos Paris (unit 24 catalogue design)
Pablo Allison (interview)
Susana Sanromán (early birds open call)