GIDEON MENDEL | Bio & CV

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BIOGRAPHY

Gideon Mendel is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading contemporary photographers. His intimate style of image making, and long-term commitment to projects has earned him international acclaim. Born in Johannesburg in 1959, he studied Psychology and African History at the University of Cape Town. He began photographing in the 1980s during the final years of apartheid. It was his work as a ‘struggle photographer’ at this time that first brought his work to global attention. 

In the early 1990s he moved to London, from where he has continued to respond to social issues globally. One of the major focuses of his work soon became the issue of HIV/AIDS. This journey began in Africa and has expanded to many parts of the world over the last twenty years. The concluding and ongoing chapter, Through Positive Eyes, is a collaborative project in which Mendel’s role has shifted from photographer to enabler, handing the camera over to HIV positive people.

Since 2007, Mendel has been working on Drowning World, an art and advocacy project about flooding that is his personal response to climate change. This work has been noted for its unusual use of portraiture, as well as its combination of photography with video pieces. 

Mendel has worked for many leading magazines—amongst them National Geographic, Fortune Magazine, Condé Naste Traveller, Geo, The Independent Magazine, The Guardian Weekend Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, L’Express, Stern and Rolling Stone. 

His first book, A Broken Landscape: HIV & AIDS in Africa was published in 2001. Since then he has produced a number of photographic advocacy projects, working with charities and campaigning organizations including The Global Fund, Médecins Sans Frontières, Treatment Action Campaign, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Action Aid, the Terrene Higgins Trust, Shelter, Leonard Cheshire International, UNICEF and Concern Worldwide. 

His work is increasingly being seen in a variety of gallery contexts, with some of his earliest work from South Africa included in the ongoing Rise and Fall of Apartheid touring exhibition. Drowning World has featured prominently at the ICP Triennial and Picture Windows installations in New York, as well as in numerous other public installations and galleries.

Amongst many accolades, Mendel has won the Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography, six World Press Photo Awards, first prize in the Pictures of the Year competition, a POY Canon Photo Essayist Award and the Amnesty International Media Award for Photojournalism. In 2015 he was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet Award (Disorder) for Drowning World. In 2016 he was the first recipient of The Pollock-Krasner Foundation’s “Pollock Prize for Creativity”.

CV

b. August 31, 1959, Johannesburg, South Africa

EDUCATION
Bachelor of Arts, University of Cape Town. Majors: Psychology, Sociology and African Economic History

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
The International Centre of Photography (ICP), New York, USA
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA

North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC, USA
The South African National Gallery (SANG), South Africa
Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) South Africa
WAM (Wits Art Museum)

AWARDS 

2019
Shortlist for Prix Pictet Award, 2019

2016 
Greenpeace Photo Award (Jury Prize)
Pollock Prize for Creativity

2015   
Shortlist for Prix Pictet Award

2002   
Amnesty International Media Award for Photojournalism

2000 
World Press Photo: Honorable Mention, Daily Life

1998 
World Press Photo: 2nd Prize, Arts and Entertainment

1997   
Nikon Press Award: 1st Prize, Storie
World Press Photo: 1st Prize, Nature Storie
World Press Photo: 1st Prize, General News Stories

1996 
W. Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography

1995 
World Press Photo: 2nd Prize, Nature Stories

1994 
Pictures of the Year: 1st Prize, Photo Essay

1993 
World Press Photo: 1st Prize, Sports Stories

1991 
World Press Photo: 2nd Prize, People in the News stories

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2019

Water and Climate Crisis: Gideon Mendel’s Drowning World. Oak Institute for Human Rights, Colby College, Waterville, ME. USA
Drowning World,  Artco, Aachen, Germany. Sep. 28
Through Positive Eyes, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. USA. Sep. 15, 209 – Feb. 16, 2020

2018     
The World to Come. Samuel P Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, FL USA. September 18, 2018

2017   
The Ward, Fitzrovia Chapel, London
Drowning World at Kaunas Photo, Lithuania
Gideon Mendel: Drowning World. Wits Art Museum, (WAM) Johannesburg. South Africa. 17 Oct 2017 – 25 February 2018
Drowning World at Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles, France. Curated by Mark Sealy. July 3 – September 24, 2017
Dzhangal Autograph, ABP, Rivington Place, London

2016 
Drowning World. LagosPhoto, Nigeria. Oct 22 – Nov. 21, 2016
Drowning World: Gideon Mendel, Outdoor Installation along the Red Cross River, Michigan State University
Drowning World: Gideon MendelEli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University
Solo booth, Axis Gallery, Art Photo, Budapest
Solo booth, Axis Gallery, 1:54 Contemporary Art Fair, London

2015   
Drowning World-UK, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth
Drowning World (Video and Stills), Lianzhou Festival, China
Drowning World billboard exhibition, Paris

2014 
Public installation of Drowning World, in the Queen’s Park subway station in Toronto (part of the Contacting Toronto Festival), curated by Sharon Switzer
Living in Yeoville Revisited, Gallery MOMO, Johannesburg

2013   
Drowning World, curated by Christine Eyene Tiwani Contemporary
The ‘Picture Windows’ installation on the 13 windows of the ICP on 43rd Street in New York
Outdoor Installation. Part of the ‘After Photography’ festival in Montevideo

2012 
Drowning World, Somerset House East Wing Gallery.

2009 
Kingsmead Eyes (collaboration with pupils from Kingsmead School), V&A Museum of Childhood

2001 
A Broken Landscape and Facing AIDS, South African National Gallery
A Broken Landscape and Facing AIDS, Museum Africa

2000 
A Broken Landcape (HIV and AIDS in Africa), Oxo Tower Gallery (touring)

1998
HIV and AIDS in Africa, The Spitalfields Gallery

1989 
Beloofde Land (Promised Land), Market Photo Gallery, Johannesburg

1988 
Living in Yeoville, Market Photo Gallery, Johannesburg 

1986 
Images of the Struggle, Market Photo Gallery, Johannesburg

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2020
The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene. DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL. March 19 – August 16, 2020

2019
Prix Pictet shortlisted artists exhibition, Victoria and Albert Museum, London. United Kingdom. 14 Nov – 8 Dec. 2019.

2018     
RAY 2018. Frankfurt am Main, Germany, May 24 – Sep 9, 2018
Drowning World. UP: Kyotographie, 6th Edition, International Photography Festival, Kyoto, Japan. April 14 –  May 13, 2018
Our Anthropocene: Eco Crises. Center for Book Arts, New York. January 19 – March 31, 2018

2017 
Liquid State, Axis Gallery, New York. Sep 21 – Oct 21, 2017
Bending the Frame, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, New York
Through Positive Eyes. Durban Art Gallery and touring
Still unresolved and very much ongoingYamamoto Keiko Rochaix, London, U
Drowning World, Les Recontres de la Photographie, Arles

2016
Drowning World at The Edge of the Earth: Climate Change in Photography and Video. Ryerson Image Center, Toronto
The Water Chapters at ‘Weather or Not’ (The art of Climate Change) MU Gallery, Eindhoven, Holland
Bending the Frame, Copenhagen Fotografisk Center, Denmark
Drowning World. TheOneFest, Goa, India. Exhibition and the artist will hold a masterclass November 21 – December 3, 2016
Points of Departure, Estuary 2016, Tilbury Cruise Terminal, UK.  September 17-30
Constellations. Arc en rêve centre d’architecture, Bodeaux, France. June 2 – September 25
Next Flood, 38CC, Delft, Netherlands
Vanishing Beauty, Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center , Portsmouth, VA
Another Better World, Bascom Art Center, Highlands, North Carolina
Constellations. Arc en rêve centre d’architecture, Bodeaux, France. June 2- September 25
Prix Pictet Exhibtion, Disorder, Somerset House, United, Kingdom, MAXXI Museum, Rome, Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris.

2014 
The Freer and Sackler Gallery, Lost World. Video Art by Charles Lim and Gideon Mendel
Double Negative Galery, Times of Struggle (UK and South Africa) with David Hoffman
Anderson Gallery at VCU, Forecast

2013
ICP Triennail, A Differrent Kind of Order

2012   
ICP, Haus der Kunst and Museum Africa, The Rise and Fall of Apartheid
The Museum Africa (and touring in South Africa), The ART Show
The ART Show Smithsonian Folklife Festival, The National Mall. 

2010
The Castle, Iziko Museum of Cape Town, Not Alone

2009
Lucy Florence Art Gallery, Los Angeles, 13 Love Stories

2008 
The Fowler Museum (and touring), Make Art Stop AIDS
Cento Banimex, Mexico City, Historias Positivas and Art Moves

2006
International Center of Photography, The Body at Risk

1993
Photographers Gallery, Positive Lives

MONOGRAPHS/CATALOGS

2018
The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene. Kerry Oliver-Smith (ed.) Samuel P Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida. 2018

2017
The Ward, Trolley Books, 2017

2016 
Dzhangal: Gideon MendelGost Books, 2017

2001 
A Broken Landscape: HIV and AIDS in Africa (edited by Chris Boot)

PUBLICATIONS

2015 
National Geographic, Drowning World
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Migrants on Crossing the Med
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Drowning World

2014 
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Three Feet High and Rising

2013 
The Independent on Sunday Magazine, Drowning World
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Tacloban Disaster

2012   
Through Positive Eyes website: www.throughpositiveyes.org

2011 
Kingsmead Eyes Speak website: www.kingsmeadeyesspeak.org

2010   
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Forgotten, But Not Gone (Pakistan Floods)

2009
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Proposition 8, Gay Couples in California
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Think Positive

2008 
German Geo, Memory Boxes for HIV/AIDS
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Flooding in Haiti

2007 
The Guardian G2, From Mother to Child
Equal Treatment, Children and HIV
The Guardian G2, A Tale of Two Floods

2006 
The Guardian G2, Soweto, 30 Years After the Uprising
The Guardian G2, The Memory Box Project
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, I Look Like my Mother (Pantomime Dames)
The Observer Magazine, Happy Days (Multiculturalism in a Hackney School)

2005 
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Eight Women, One Voice
National Geographic, Living With AIDS
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, An Answer in Africa

2004 
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, The Children Left Behind
The Sunday Times Magazine, Violated and Isolated (Rwanda Women and HIV)
Living Proof publication. 10th Anniversary of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance

2003 
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Salvation is Cheap
Positive Nation, Facing AIDS in South Africa
National Geographic, A Land Possessed (Land Issues in Zimbabwe)

2002
HIV Treatment Activist Poster Set made with MSF and TAC in South Africa
The Guardian Weekend Magazine. Looking AIDS in the Face

2001
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, The Life Savers

2000 
Guardian Weekend Magazine, While the World Looks Away
L’Express, Le Sida en Afrique

1999 
Poster Campaign for the Terence Higgins Trust, Fighting Stigma
POZ Magazine, AIDS in Africa
The Guardian Weekend Magazine, Israel, State of the Nation

1998 
Reportage Magazine Booklet, A Broken Landscape

1997 
Reportage Magazine. Troubled Waters
Conde Naste Traveller. Lost Tribe of the Kalahari
Focus Magazine, AIDS in Africa

1996 
Grands Reportages, Koyasan, Japanese Village of Temples
Independent Magazine, Days of Empire
Fortune Magazine, Young Americans in Vietna
Independent on Sunday Magazine, The New Black Mayor of Ventersdorp
Greenpeace Magazine (Germany). Senegalese Fishing Village

1995 
Photographers International, British Photography
Das Magazin, King Goodwill Zwelithini
Reportage Magazine, Claremont Road
Claremont Road, A Festival of Resistance Publication
The Open Book. Publication for Crisis at Christmas (for the homeless)

1994 
Christian Aid Poster Campaign, We Believe in Life Before Death
Reportage Magazine, De Aar Elections

1993   
The Independent Magazine, An Everyday Occurrence (Zimbabwe Hospital HIV)
The Independent Magazine, A High School in Sowet
Tempo, AIDS Ward, Middlesex Hospital
Telegraph Magazine, The death of the Zambian Football Team

1992 
Tempo, The Crisis of Somalia
Tempo, London’s Homeless
Merian, Portrait of Johannesburg
The Independent Magazine, Paradise Lost (Return after Forced Removals)

1991 
The Independent Magazine, The Black Jews of Israel

1989   
Leadership Magazine, Promised Land
The Observer Magazine, The British Who Choose South Africa

1988   
Leadership Magazine, Living in Yeoville

1987 
Stern Magazine, Forbidden Photos from South Africa
Beyond the Barricades (Popular Resistance in South Africa)

1986 
Leadership Magazine, Lines of Sight (Images of the Struggle)

VIDEO AND FILM 

2015 
Water, Chapters 10 and 11 was shown at the Plymouth Arts Centre as part of my Drowning World-UK show
Installation with a two-channel projection of Water, Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9 facing Water, Chapters 10, 11 and 12 was shown at the Lianzhou Festival, China

2014   
Water, Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9 was shown at the Freer and Sackler Gallery in Washington

2013   
Water, Chapters 6 and 7 was shown as part of the ICP Triennial in New York and at Tiwnai Contemporary in London

2012 
Through Positive Eyes, a short film is shown as part of the opening plenary session of the 2012 Global HIV/AIDS Conference in Washington
Living in Yeoville was commissioned by curator Okwui Ewenzor for the Rise and Fall of Apartheid exhibition-a contemporary re-examination of documentary projects from the 1980s

2011 
Kingsmead Eyes Speak, a film made with pupils from Kingsmead Primary School was shown at the Open Cities Documentary Festival and the East End Film Festival in London
Living with Floodwaters, a short video about flooding in Bangkok was shown on MSNBC and is voted a ‘staff pic’ on Vimeo

2009 
Kingsmead Eyes, a film made with pupils from Kingsmead Primary School was shown at the V&A Museum of Childhood and at the New York Photo Festival

2005 
A short film about AIDS orphans in Swaziland was broadcast on BBC Newsnight

2003 
The Harsh Divide, a series of four short animated films about access to HIV Treatment were broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK

TEACHING AND TALKS

2018   
Master Class, Gideon Mendel – Memory and Materiality, Kyotographie, April 15-16, 2018
Palo Alto Photography Forum, Lecture series, Palo Alto, CA

2017 
Representing the Calais ‘Jungle’, Autograph, ABP, Rivington Place, London. An artist tour, book launch and dialogue

2016    
Bending the Frame, conference in conjunction with exhibition, Copenhagen Fotografisk Center, Denmark
Artist talk in conjunction with Axis Gallery exhibit, Art Photo, Budapest

2013 
Taught a workshop at Wits Art School in Johannesburg

2012   
Taught a workshop at the ICP School in New York

2009 – 2011
Photographer in Residence at Kingsmead Primary School, where I led two major collaborative teaching projects: Kingsmead Eyes and Kingsmead Eyes Speak: www.kingsmeadeyesspeak.org

2008 – 2014
Co-director of the global Through Positive Eyes project, working with groups of HIV positive people who photograph their own lives: www.throughpositveeyes.org

2006 
Taught at the World Press Photo Masterclass

2004-2007
Taught three workshops at the MAZ Institute in Lucerne