Opening Exhibitions AUGUST SANDER - JAN HOEK
AUGUST SANDER – MEESTERWERKEN EN ONTDEKKINGEN (masterpieces and discoveries)
JAN HOEK – SHOOTING STARS
20h: official opening with speeches (Luk Lemmens, Elviera Velghe and Gebriela Conrath-Scholl), followed by a reception with music from Piet Verbist quartet: Piet Verbist (contrabas), Bart Borremans (tenor sax), Hans van Oost (guitar) en Wim Eggermont (drums).
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August Sander (DE, 1876-1964) is considered one of the most influential photographers of the last century. With his conceptual portrait seriesPeople of the 20th Century, he set out to provide a record of the social order of the age. As iconic as his portraits are of 'the pastry cook', 'the farmer', 'the revolutionaries' and so on, to reduce his life's work to these well-known portrait series would be to do Sander an injustice.
In addition to a selection from People of the 20th Century, the exhibition is displaying a kaleidoscopic retrospective of different themes spanning five decades: cityscapes of Cologne before and after World War II, German landscapes, botanical studies, commissioned work for the industrial sector and much more. The exhibition presents both famous and never-before-exhibited masterpieces and series by August Sander and includes over three hundred original prints.
This major exhibition was organised in partnership with Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne.
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Jan Hoek (NL, °1984) inhabits terrain that borders on the controversial. He is interested in photographing people without exploiting them. His models deviate from the conventional. For example, there is Kim, a homeless, former heroin addict whom he encountered on the streets of Amsterdam: her dream of becoming a supermodel is not likely to be fulfilled. He removes the Sweet Crazies (homeless Ethiopians with mental health problems) from their context and portrays them as majestic men against colourful, noble backdrops.
Hoek finds his models on the street, through the internet and among his circle of friends. The outcome of a shoot will largely depend on what the models themselves want. How do they wish to appear? What are their hopes and dreams?
But can a photographer meet these expectations? And can photography ever be ethical? Jan Hoek provides a sharp focus on the debate. He holds up a mirror to both photographers and their audience and challenges us to take a stance. His work is straightforward but it also joins the conversation about a medium that is still fundamentally misunderstood.
Copyright cover image: Jonge boeren, 1914 © Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv, Cologne; SABAM, Bruxelles, 2015.