A Scene In Oude Kerk Amsterdam

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Two works of the exhibition “Once in a lifetime” (12 May – 28 August 2016) in Oude Kerk (Old church), Amsterdam, Netherlands.

1.- In the work ‘Heritage’ by Folkert de Jong (NL, 1972), and older man and child are sitting on a stack of pallets. Downcast and timid they stare straight ahead. In the monumental church they seem particularly vulnerable and lonely. Where do they come from? What are they waiting for? What is making them so dejected? By calling the work Heritage, Folkert de Jong is alluding to the fact that we are not only responsible for our behaviour in the present, but are responsible for the behaviour of our predecessors in the past as well. Typical of Folkert de Jong’s work is his use of coloured styrofoam and polyurethane foam. These materials are not intended to last for eternity and are not environmentally friendly whatsoever. It is this disturbing property that intrigues the artist. In his sculptures he often refers to dark events in the past, which he then relates to contemporary events with an ironic twist, connecting the history of art with the present day.

2.- The work ‘Celebration (you only live once)(you only die once)’ that Job Koelewijn (NL, 1962) has created especially for the exhibition consists of an installation of vases with colourful, fragrant flowers. The vases are placed carefully on the church’s tombstone floor, in memory of the dead who were buried here many centuries ago. Flowers are used at many moments in life as an expression of joy, but they are also used at moments that are coupled with sorrow, as an expression of love and solace for the bereaved. In the church the flower arrangements leave a solemn, serene and at the same time slightly absurd impression. Who are we commemorating here and for whom do the flowers provide solace? Job Koelewijn’s work is often conceptual in character, but is at the same time strongly sensual and always alludes to reality. The subjects of ‘time’ and ‘timelessness’ play an important part in his work, which ranges from photos and films to small objects and space-filling installations. Koelewijn often uses materials that appeal to our sense of touch and smell, that possess a great fragility and ‘purity’.

The 800-year-old Oude Kerk (“old church”) is Amsterdam’s oldest building and oldest parish church, founded ca. 1213 and consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. After the Reformation in 1578 it became a Calvinist church, which it remains today. It stands in De Wallen, now Amsterdam’s main red-light district. The square surrounding the church is the Oudekerksplein.

Today, the Oude Kerk is a centre for both religious and cultural activities and can be rented for presentations, receptions and dinner parties. Among the events hosted is the prestigious annual World Press Photo awards ceremony. The venue hosts many concerts with performers including the BBC Singers and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

The plaque at the pillar is dedicated to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621), a Dutch composer, organist, and pedagogue whose work straddled the end of the Renaissance and beginning of the Baroque eras. He was among the first major keyboard composers of Europe, and his work as a teacher helped establish the north German organ tradition.
(Description from oudekerk.nl and Wikipedia)

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‘Fake Horizons’ (‘Falsos horizontes’) by Alberto García-Alix

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Black and white pictures by Alberto García-Alix in his monographic exhibition ‘Fake Horizons’ (‘Falsos horizontes’) at the Tabacalera center in Madrid, Spain,  February-April 2016.

Alberto García-Alix (born 1956) is a Spanish photographer from León, Spain. A National Photography Award winner in 1999, El honor de las injurias (2007), a documentary film about Felipe Sandoval.

His work has reached different countries and has been praised by publications such as Vogue, British Journal of Photography or Vanity Fair. A motorcycle and portrait lover, his Leica and Hasselblad cameras have immortalized important national and international artists. He has always been inspired by bikes, tattoos, music and the night.

He defines his portraits as a confrontation with his own model. Garcia-Alix is one of the leading figures of the movement known as La Movida Madrileña leaving behind well-known and powerful images of this cultural movement’s youth. Among its members are some of his friends, who subsequently have become renowned personalities in different fields: Pedro Almodóvar, Rossy de Palma, Emma Suárez, Camarón de la Isla and many others. Often violently shameless, his works are recurrently raw and naked portraits. They are often considered to be overreactions but their expressive power and graphic effectiveness is undeniable.

García-Alix has devoted his entire career to black and white photography as personal and social documentation. Since his long stays in France and China in 2007 and 2008, he has been experimenting with video by documenting his images accompanied by his own texts and voice. An example of his video-art was showcased at it his exhibition De donde no se vuelve (2008) at the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid.

Awards and recognition: Spanish National Photography Award 1999; Especial Guest for El País Newspaper at the Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid (ARCO); Shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014 for his book Autorretrato/Self-Portrait, La Fabrica Editorial (2013).

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