Monthly Archives: September 2016

Sparking a Perplexing Fight Over Artistic Plagiarism

Two nearly identical photographs are at the heart of a debate about possible plagiarism in an entry to the Sony World Photography Awards. The players are Romanian artist Alex Andriesi, who lives in Montpellier, France, and Portugal-based photographer Anka Zhuravleva. Both photographers’ images show colorful, hovering spheres in a soft-lit hallway, lit by windows at left, and a girl or a woman in a green dress, floating in the air and grasping one of the spheres, her face toward the camera, eyes closed. By any measure, the images are strikingly similar.

After the shortlist for the “Open” section of the 10th edition of the prize was announced in February, Zhuravleva took to Facebook with a March 19 post accusing Andriesi of plagiarism. Followers lined up to support her complaint, though some say she has no choice but to shrug it off.

The prize itself includes a trip to London and a total prize fund of $30,000, along with photo equipment for the winners.

The World Photography Organisation weighed in on Zhuravleva’s post with a comment a few days later, saying that it takes any such accusations seriously and always conducts an investigation.

Here’s where things get really intriguing: As part of that investigation, Andriesi showed the World Photography Organization and the publication PetaPixel, which earlier reported this story, documents and a video that supports his claim of innocence. But that evidence remains secret; Andriesi reportedly won’t show it to the public. In addition to the possibility that the video could provoke a nasty debate, he tells PetaPixel, “I’m also afraid that Anka’s tight-knit community may view the video as retaliation.”

“In this instance Alex Andriesi has provided documents that support his statement that he has not plagiarised the work of any other artist and his influence was taken from elsewhere,” says the WPO in its Facebook comment, without specifying the actual inspiration.

For Zhuravleva, that’s not much of a defense. Speaking to PetaPixel, she characterized their defense this way: “‘No, he didn’t copy you, he copied someone else. So do not worry.’”

Both photographers traffic in soft-focus photos of beautiful people in romantic settings. Since picking up a camera in 2006, Zhuravleva has shot numerous book covers and has shown her work at venues throughout Europe and in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Andriesi doesn’t seem to have a website that would provide biographical information.

Feature a wide range of artists

Ai Weiwei, Haegue Yang, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Anya Gallaccio, and Oliver Beer are some of the artists who are participating in the 21st Biennale of Sydney, slated to open to the public on March 16, 2018.

Biennale curator Mami Kataoka has revealed a diverse preliminary list of 21 participating artists, including one artist duo, 10 artists from throughout Asia, five European artists, four Australian artists, and one artist from the US.

Kataoka also revealed some of the ideas that are shaping her curatorial vision for the event:

“Next year’s Biennale will explore multiple viewpoints. With a holistic view, the 21st Biennale of Sydney will also seek in-depth engagement with individuals and communities while exploring a range of perspectives and meanings of abstractions,” the curator said in a statement.

“Rather than focusing on a specific concept or theme, the exhibition will suggest multi-layered perspectives of the world and its histories simultaneously,” she explained.

The organization also confirmed that an exhibition celebrating the 45th anniversary of the biennial will also take place as part of its upcoming edition.

This show will draw from the organization’s vast archive, which gathers works by over 1,800 artists from over 100 countries that have been shown throughout its history.

There will be around 70 artists taking part in the biennial in total. A complete list will be released at a later date.

Meanwhile, these are the 21 participating artists who have been announced so far:

Eija-Liisa Ahtila (born 1959 in Finland, lives and works in Helsinki)
Ai Weiwei (born 1957 in China, lives and works in Beijing)
Brook Andrew (born 1970 in Australia, lives and works in Melbourne)
Oliver Beer (born 1985 in England, lives and works in Paris and London)
Anya Gallaccio (born 1963 in Scotland, lives and works in San Diego)
Laurent Grasso (born 1972 in France, lives and works in Parisand New York)
N.S.Harsha (born 1969 in India, lives and works in Mysore)
Mit JaiInn (born 1960 in Thailand, lives and works in Chiang Mai)
Kate Newby (born 1979 in New Zealand, lives and works in Auckland and New York)
Noguchi Rika (born 1971 in Japan, lives and works in Okinawa)
Nguyen Trinh Thi (born 1973 in Vietnam, lives and works in Hanoi)
Ciara Phillips (born 1976 in Canada, lives and works in Glasgow)
Koji Ryui (born 1976 in Japan, lives and works in Sydney)
Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman, born 1973 in England, and Joe Gerhardt, born 1972 in England, live and work in Brighton)
Yasmin Smith (born 1984 in Australia, lives and works in Sydney)
George Tjungurrayi (born c. 1943 in Australia, lives and works in Kintore)
Nicole Wong (born 1990 in Hong Kong, lives and works in Hong Kong)
Wong Hoy Cheong (born 1960 in Malaysia, lives and works in Kuala Lumpur)