On almost every topic

JH Engström is currently at the Foam Museum in Amsterdam. I was not very familiar with his work, but it is a great exhibition with exceptional work.

One of the series I really liked was CDG/JHE, a series made at the Charles de Gaulle Airport. It consist of overexposed pictures of the airport and its surroundings. The images often look like stills from a post-apocalyptic science fiction movie.

It looks like this short film was made when JH Engström was working on this series. The title suggests the subtitles are in English, but they are in French.

One of the most fascinating books I have read this year. What a great writer he is.

Paul Kooiker Nude, 2014 and installation view

A new installation by Paul Kooiker called Nude Animal Cigar is now on view at the Fotomuseum in The Hague. The exhibition is from October 18, 2014 - January 18, 2015. The installation comprises 200 pictures of nudes, cigars and animals. The exhibition also provides an overview of his books. Photobooks are an important medium for Paul Kooiker.

For an interview with Paul Kooiker related to the exhibition click here (in Dutch).

The Do It Yourselfie Guide is a new artist edition by artist Willem Popelier. According to his website he ‘analyzed thousands of selfies, tips and research articles on selfies for The Do It Yourselfie Guide - the ultimate guide with 66 rules and 66 identity pictures to capture the best version of yourself’. His main focus as an artist in general seems to be on the subject of portraits and self representation (also of other people).

The subject is great and the content looks great. I think he has a great sense of humor. I am not sure about the execution though. It looks like it is designed like a book, but it is a stack of cards. To read a page you have to take out two cards in order to follow a guideline. One with the text and one illustrating the guideline. To me it demonstrates how great an invention books are, although I think it could also perfectly work as an App for your tablet or smartphone.

Maybe it should have been just a small pocket book like these self help pockets like It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden that you find in any airport bookstore. I think it should be next to all those other essential guides that help us to succeed in life. It should be a New York Times non-fiction best seller with over half a million copies sold like the book by Arden.

Book designer Irma Boom considers this as one of her best books. It was a leaving gift for Wim van Krimpen when he departed as director of The Hague’s city museums end of 2008. The cover design is a collaboration with artist Daan van Golden, an artist she admires. Van Golden has used this pattern in many of his paintings (see for example here). The source of the pattern is a piece of fabric he uses to create compositions from. They are all titled Heerenlux after the brand of paint he uses for the color red. For this book the pattern is screen printed on both the cover, the back and the three book edges. The execution is perfect. Unopened the book looks like a box rather than a book. In the book the period Van Krimpen was director is illustrated by four thousand images that are arranged by color. More information is available on this Best Dutch Book Designs page.

theobviousportrait:

The Do It Yourselfie Guide - the ultimate guide with 66 rules and 66 identity pictures to capture the best version of yourself. The artist edition, in collaboration with New Window, exists of 148 identity pictures - 66 with rules in text, 66 with a visual example to accompany the rule. It comes in a smal box, made by hand and signed by the artist. The guide will be introduced at New Window at Unseen Photography Festival Amsterdam, 18 - 21 september 2014. (Supported by the Mondriaan Fund)

theobviousportrait:

The Do It Yourselfie Guide - the ultimate guide with 66 rules and 66 identity pictures to capture the best version of yourself.
The artist edition, in collaboration with New Window, exists of 148 identity pictures - 66 with rules in text, 66 with a visual example to accompany the rule. It comes in a smal box, made by hand and signed by the artist.
The guide will be introduced at New Window at Unseen Photography Festival Amsterdam, 18 - 21 september 2014.
(Supported by the Mondriaan Fund)

Kraftwerk will play eight nights in a row in Paradiso in Amsterdam January 16-23. Every night they will play a different album starting with Autobahn (1974). It is difficult to make a decision, but my personal favorites are Radio-Activiti (1975) and Computer World (1981), so I bought tickets for these two shows. Do I mind that Ralf Hütter is the only founding member who is still a member of the band? No, I don’t. The only concern I have is that it is 3-D because I am stereoblind. But who knows, according to Wikipedia there is one known case where stereoblindness was reportedly cured by watching a 3D film. May be if I go all eight nights I will be able to perceive stereoscopic vision.

Kraftwerk will play eight nights in a row in Paradiso in Amsterdam January 16-23. Every night they will play a different album starting with Autobahn (1974). It is difficult to make a decision, but my personal favorites are Radio-Activiti (1975) and Computer World (1981), so I bought tickets for these two shows. Do I mind that Ralf Hütter is the only founding member who is still a member of the band? No, I don’t. The only concern I have is that it is 3-D because I am stereoblind. But who knows, according to Wikipedia there is one known case where stereoblindness was reportedly cured by watching a 3D film. May be if I go all eight nights I will be able to perceive stereoscopic vision.

These two photographs by Marijke van Warmerdam are inserted in the book Het komt voor (2008), a collaboration with poet Rozalie Hirs. It is a typical Dutch landscape that you would find in the rural area around Amsterdam. I believe the pictures are made near the artist studio in Abcoude. In one photograph you can see a bird house mounted in a tree and in the other the view of the bird house is obscured by a splash of water.

I am not sure why, but this book is not included in Close by in the Distance - A Catalogue Raisonné. There is a similar work from 2008 called Sloot (Ditch) made from the same point of view that is listed in the book. It is a reversible photo work on a shelf. In this case the splash of water obscures the view of a sheep. The bird house is also visible. There is another work that uses pictures from the same location called Underwater I and II that was first exhibited in 2005. 

Underwater I and II, 2005. Courtesy of Galerie van Gelder

A New American Picture (2010, 2012) by Doug Rickard is a disturbing book and a great example of how Google Street View can be applied by artists. His new book N.A. that will be available soon in a trade ediiton published by Verlag Kettler and D.A.P. is even more disturbing. Especially if you consider that the pictures are completely sourced from YouTube video’s. Again Rickard uses publicly available material from the internet to expose scene’s he otherwise would have never been able to capture. Both books were initially published as limited edition books by the small publisher White-Press.

Photo Events in The Netherlands

You could say there are too many photo events coming up in the Netherlands.

  • There is Useen in Amsterdam September 18-21, a photo fair similar to Paris Photo but of course more limited in scope and presence.
  • There is the Noordericht in Leeuwarden, a big photo festival between August 31 and October 26 with many exhibitions in museums and galleries.
  • There is Breda Photo, another photo festival from September 11 until October 26 with lots of big names like Todd Hido, Gregory Halpern, Alec Soth, Ed Templeton, Andrew Bush and Simon Roberts.

So if you plan to visit Unseen, stay two more days and travel by train in two hours to Leeuwarden for the Noorderlicht festival and in one and a half hour to Breda for Breda Photo. Both have plenty of interesting exhibitions with great names. Look up the websites for details. And if you like festivals and like culture, stay a bit longer to visit the Incubate festival, a kind of South by Southwest festival, in Tilburg one and a half hour by train from Amsterdam.