Bildhalle presents “Peak”, Bastiaan Woudt’s latest series. Recently, the NZZ magazine devoted an eight-page portfolio to the artist, writing as follows: “Nepal, home of the highest mountains, is known for its mythic cold. A photographer from the flat Netherlands is impressed. For nearly a month, Bastiaan Woudt, considered one of the most talented contemporary photographers by one of the world’s most renowned photography magazines, travelled to Nepal in the Himalayas. In the area around Annapurna, he climbed to nearly 6000 metres. The resulting photographs, now published in book form, picture not only the cold beauty of this mystical land of snow but also the culture brought forth by exceptional climatic conditions.”
In his book Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination, Robert MacFarlane writes: “The true blessing of the mountains is not that they provide a challenge or a contest, something to be overcome and dominated. It is that they offer something gentler and infinitely more powerful: they make us ready to credit marvels – whether it is the dark swirl which water makes beneath a plate of ice, or the feel of the soft pelts of moss which form on the lee sides of boulders and trees. Being in the mountains reignites our astonishment at the simplest transactions of the physical world.” For Bastiaan Woudt, the unforgettable journey was additionally heightened by the endless mountain passes and the hypnotizing rhythm of walking. Being so far removed from the rest of the world gave him time and space to think about life and ponder fundamental questions: who am I, where do I want to go? Literally travelling but also as a metaphor of his own life.
Bastiaan Woudt wanted to capture Nepal’s landscape with the same timeless aesthetic as the people he encountered while travelling. From thirteen young monks in a monastery to the owner of a teahouse, his portraits testify to the grace and pride, the strength and wisdom of the Nepalese.
Bastiaan Woudt (NL, 1987) has enjoyed a meteoric rise to success within the world of contemporary photography. After starting his own photography practice from scratch a mere five years ago, with no experience or formal training, he has developed into a photographer with his own distinct signature style – abstract yet sharp, with a strong focus on detail. As a student of the history of photography, learnt through devouring photobooks and visiting museums and fairs, Bastiaan Woudt has a strong preference for classic subjects, such as portraits and nudes, and we see references to illustrious periods from photography throughout his work, such as Surrealism and both the fashion and documentary photography of the 1960s and 70s. But through a sophisticated use of both camera and post-production techniques, which he has taught himself by heavily experimenting with both, he gives his own graphic and wholly contemporary twist to the classical.
Bastiaan Woudt’s work was exhibited in museums, at fairs and in galleries worldwide. In 2014 he was chosen as New Dutch Photography Talent, in 2016 he was named one of the biggest talents working today by the prestigious magazine The British Journal of Photography, furthering his position as a talent on the rise. In 2017 he won the Van Vlissingen Art Foundation Award. In 2019, his extensive monograph Hidden was published by Ypublishers, in 2020, his book Peak about the landscapes and people in the area around Annapurma was published. After the exhibition Hidden in 2019 the Bildhalle will dedicate a second solo exhibition to Bastiaan Woudt in winter 2021/2022.
“My inspiration comes from many forms of art, but in particular, the old masters of photography like Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Man Ray, Bill Brandt, all amazing minds. They nailed what it takes to make an interesting image: Dynamics, movement, imperfection, feeling. Besides photography, there are many more ways I get inspired. Paintings, the way the Dutch masters saw the light is extraordinary. I believe that in art photography, you have to create a little dream world: a unique insight into the photographer’s mind. Black and white help to differentiate from reality. I find that color is too distracting.”
Online exhibition at Bildhalle:
Gallery for classic and contemporary photography
BASTIAAN WOUDT – PEAK
- Published by 1605 Publishers
- 264 pages
- Size 25 x 33 cm
- Limited edition of 1250 copies
PRICE: 75 Euros