Edgar Martins

Lives & works: UK

Edgar Martins was born in Évora, Portugal (1977) and grew up in Macau, China, where he published his first novel entitled “Mãe deixa-me fazer o pino”. In 1996 he moved to the UK, where he completed a BA in Photography at the University of the Arts followed by an MA in Photography Fine Art at the Royal College of Art in London, UK. Author of  over 15 critically acclaimed books since 2002, Martins has exhibited internationally at PS1 MoMA; MOPA, San Diego, USA; MACRO, Rome; MAST, Bologna; Laumeier Sculpture Park, Centro Cultural de Belém, Centro de Arte Moderna de Bragança, Centro de Arte Moderna and MAAT, Lisbon; Centro Cultural Hélio Oiticica, Brazil; The New Art Gallery Walsall, UK; PM Gallery & House, The Gallery of Photography, Dublin; Ffotogallery and The Wolverhampton Art Gallery & Museum, UK;  Centre Culturel Calouste Gulbenkian, Paris; Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool UK;  José de Guimarães International Art Centre, Portugal; New Walk Museum & Art Gallery Leicester, UK and National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul among others.

Field Editions is proud to present Edgar Martins’ diptych work ‘Make Men Great Again’, one of several works produced in the context of a project developed with one of the UK’s largest prisons: HM Prison Birmingham, over the past two years. This project resulted also in a book shortly to be published, entitled ‘What Photography and Incarceration have in Common with an Empty Vase’.Using the social context of incarceration as a starting point, Martins explores the philosophical concept of absence, and addresses a broader consideration of the status of the photograph, when questions of visibility, ethics, aesthetics and documentation intersect. By giving a voice to prison inmates and their families, and by addressing prison as a set of social relations rather than a mere physical space, the work proposes to rethink and counter the sort of imagery normally associated with incarceration.

Edgar Martins was the recipient of the Thames & Hudson and RCA Society Book Art Prize (2003), the Jerwood Photography Award (2003), the New York Photography Award 2008, the BES Photo Prize (2009), The SONY World Photography Award (2010), the International Photography Awards 2010 and the SONY World Photography Award (2017). He was also nominated for the Prix Pictet 2010 and received honorable mentions in competitions such as the ICP Infinity Awards (2004), Concurso Purification Garcia (2012), the New York Photography Awards (2013), Voies Off (2017), Hariban Award (2017), Lens Culture/Magnum Awards (2017).

Edgar Martins was selected to represent Macau (China) for the 54th Venice Biennale.

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