In Sight: Contemporary Dutch Photography
from the Collection of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Hans Aarsman » Wout Berger » Koos Breukel » Wijnanda Deroo » Elspeth Diederix » Rineke Dijkstra » Marnix Goossens » Juul Hondius » Celine van Balen » Gerald van der Kaap » Hans van der Meer » Bertien van Manen » Hellen van Meene » & others
Exhibition: – 8 May 2005
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
The Art Institute is the only venue for this particular exhibition of photography, which will be installed in Regenstein Hall. The LaSalle Bank, a subsidiary of ABN AMRO, which maintains one of the premier corporate collections of photography internationally, is the local sponsor. In Sight concentrates on the work of a select group of photographers who are vital to contemporary Dutch photography. This core consists of Hans Aarsman, Wout Berger, Wijnanda Deroo, Rineke Dijkstra, Gerald van der Kaap, Bertien van Manen and Hans van der Meer. Their work represents a wide range of approaches adding depth to important photographic trends and genres. A strong constant in Dutch photography is its very dynamic handling of the documentary aspect of the medium. Within that aspect, attention to traditional social orientation has been given two radically different forms in the work of Bertien van Manen and that of Rineke Dijkstra. Dijkstra poses questions about the meaning of identity and the human condition in monumental portraits. On the other hand, the more lyrical reportage by van Manen sketches an image of people during the dramatic changes in the former Soviet Union and Chinese culture. In a country where centuries of claiming land from the sea is the norm, nature is often completely ‘man-made’ and under human control. Hans Aarsman’s ‘Dutch scenes’ refer to the theatre of an overstructured reality, and Wout Berger’s photographs to the deceptiveness of ‘natural’ beauty in photographs. Of the core group, the most abstract in her approach is Wijnanda Deroo, for whom research into the significance and effect of light, space and - for several years now – the mutual relation between objects and color are constants. She concentrates on strongly formal photographic aspects, while a photographer such as Van der Kaap has constructed his oeuvre on interrogating the functioning, place, and effect of the photographic image. Since the early 1990s investigation of digital possibilities for the taking and manipulation of images has played a central role in his work. Hans van der Meer records various cultural phenomena with a sharp, but at the same time, humorous eye. In recent years his most important subject has been amateur soccer games, which he pictures as human theatre, the suggestive representation of human shortcoming. Alongside this core of seven photographers, the exhibition samples the work others, especially those of the younger generation, who have shown themselves inspired anew through various genres and approaches such as the portrait, landscape, social analysis and research into the documentary significance of the photographic image. They include Celine van Balen, Koos Breukel, Elspeth Diederix, Marnix Goossens, Juul Hondius and Hellen van Meene. The selection for this exhibition is made from a collection that was started in 1958, and is the longest established collection in a European museum for modern art. Initiated by the then Director Willem Sandberg, the Stedelijk’s collection was modeled after the one begun by the MoMa in New York before the Second World War. Under the various directors in the second half of the 20th century, the photography collection continued to grow, both as a reflection of developments intrinsic to photography and in its relation with other forms of visual art. Although the collection is internationally oriented, it naturally has a founding in and superlatives examples of the contributions Dutch photographers and artists have made to the field.