Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2008: Lucia Nimcova „Unofficial“

Winner 2008: Lucia Nimcova

Photographer Lucia Nimcova has been chosen as the winner of this year’s Leica Oskar Barnack Award for her photo project “Unofficial“. The pictures of the winning series were taken in 2007 in Slovakia. Taking her home town as an example, she documents how time seems to have stood still since the fall of the Communist regime. Even years later, people and places do not seem to have changed at all, almost as if time had passed them by unnoticed and without a trace. The Leica Oskar Barnack Award 2008 will be presented at the Arles photo festival from 8th – 13th July, 2008.

In the past few years, Lucia Nimcova has devoted herself to the study of life and development in Eastern Europe. Her research took her to the public archives of her home town in Slovakia. Looking at documents there, she noticed that nothing seems to have changed in the years after the Communist dictatorship and Slovakia’s joining the European Union in 2004. She went back to some of the places she remembered from her childhood and captured the fascination of a time apparently unaffected by change.

She met people who still have the same public functions as years ago, places and institutions have stood still and the distant past even lives on in events and political discussions. Everything seems frozen in a time warp, overtaken by political and economic developments. And this is exactly the fascination of the winning series, which tells more of a story than a first glance reveals. The photographic search for traces of change is convincing in both form and content. The photographer captures everyday scenes with a wink, eliciting a smile from the viewer while at the same time setting him thinking.

Lucia Nimcova

Lucia Nimcova has a deep appreciation of the slippages between photography as an event and its operation in private and official life—the ways in which moments in both spheres are captured, some emotionally and some seemingly neutrally, by the snapping of a shutter and final selection.Born in 1977. Lives and works in Brussels and Humenne. Nimcova studied at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

She has recently exhibited her works at BOZAR, Brussels; Galeria Arsenal, Bialystok; Albumarte, Rome; Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney; Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam; Prague Biennale; Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow; Via Farini, Milan; Utah Museum of Contemporary Arts and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. Lucia’s videos were recently shown at Festival Fotograf, Prague; Filmmuseum, Dusseldorf; Ex Elettrofonica, Milan and Now & After Festival, Moscow, Russia