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Museum Folkwang : Paul Kooiker : Fashion


The Museum Folkwang‘s Photographic Collection presents the exhibition “Paul Kooiker – Fashion”. It is the first time that Kooiker’s fashion photographs will be on display in an institutional context. The newly acquired series of 25 photographs will enter into dialogue with works from the Photographic Collection’s holdings, including Cindy Sherman, Grete Stern, and Juergen Teller. The exhibition “Stopover” will be shown concurrently: it presents new works by master’s students from the Photography Studies programme at Folkwang University of the Arts.

With his current photographs, Paul Kooiker (*1964, Rotterdam) moves at the interface between fashion and art. Using smartphones, apps and digital post-processing, he creates a new, idiosyncratic and internationally acclaimed fashion photography in his Amsterdam studio. He publishes extensive photo spreads in magazines such as Vogue Italia, Dazed & Confused and AnOther. Kooiker realizes shoots for well-known brands such as Givenchy, Rick Owens and Viktor & Rolf. Before turning to fashion photography, Kooiker worked as a photographer and college instructor for over two decades, becoming known for surreal studio settings.

Paul Kooiker often exaggerates the shape of bodies to the extreme. Using artificial body extensions, wigs, and extravagant clothing as well as light, shadow, and fragmentation, he creates an unique visual language whose surreal undertone often recalls icons of photography and art history. Social themes such as diversity, body positivity, or the fetishization of bodies, which the fashion world takes up, also translate directly into Kooiker’s image production. Between the queer and avant-garde creations of the designers and the nostalgically anarchic look of his photographs, an effective power typical of Kooiker emerges.

In dialogue with Paul Kooiker’s photographs, works by Hans Bellmer, Rudolf Bonvie, Brassaï, Max Burchartz, Lotte Errell, Florence Henri, Germaine Krull, Boris Mikhailov, Lisette Model, Cindy Sherman, Grete Stern, Sasha Stone and Juergen Teller are shown.

The series of images by Paul Kooiker was acquired with the support of the Freunde der Fotografischen Sammlung am Museum Folkwang e.V.

At the same time, students from the Photography Studies master’s programme at the Folkwang University of the Arts will present their current study projects in the exhibition Stopover and provide insights into the process of creating their works. For the first time, photo-theoretical positions from the tandem course Photography Studies and Research, which focuses on the history and theory of photography, will also be shown. The student exhibition is being created in close cooperation with the Museum Folkwang.


Paul Kooiker – Fashion

3 Dec 2021 – 6 Feb 2022

Museum Folkwang

Museumsplatz 1

45128 Essen, Germany


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