Halfweg - bosrand, 2013, 85 x 175 cm
Exhibition from march 14th to april 26th 2014
Les filles du calvaire gallery has the pleasure to annonce Ellen Kooi’s new exhibition. After the success of her retrospective in 2010 in Paris at the Dutch Institute, she’s back with new pieces.
The photographs of Ellen Kooi are concerned with the symbiotic relationship between the landscape and those who enter it. Her pieces are readable as compelling poetic stories through her use of the panoramic perspective. In these stories both the landscape and the human figures in it function as protagonists. This explains the show’s title – Next to Me – it refers to the slowly developing feeling of kinship with ones surroundings. People seem to be eager to establish a narrative relationship with the natural locations they encounter. The hills, forests and lakes are given names and are surrounded with numerous fantastic tales. By doing so these places are given a human meaning and become part of a collective memory. This mythologizing process stands in shrill contrast with the hardly magical reality of the urbanized Dutch landscape.
Kooi tries to envision the lyrical connection between man and nature without losing touch with the soberness of this reality. Her photographs show ritualistic acts and poetical gestures within imposing landscapes. But the nearby parking lot full of tourists or the suburbs looming on the horizon are never erased. She seems to photograph events that are usually hidden from view but which take place nonetheless. Indeed, practically nothing in these photographs has been digitally altered. She forces herself to find the perfect location and then waits for a perfect moment to take the photograph. This approach grounds these pieces in realism. The site-specificness of these photographs has found high acclaim abroad. She has mastered the technique of presenting the uniqueness of the Dutch landscape by making clever use of narrative suggestions that cross cultural boundaries. By utilizing literary and art-historical references she is able to involve a larger audience in her photographic tales.