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Rotterdam Art Week – Nederlands Fotomuseum – Kunsthal & Huis Voor De Fotografie


Nederlands Fotomuseum – Ad Van Denderen – En Route – 30 September 2023 – 20 May 2024 (Images 1)

The retrospective exhibition Ad van Denderen: On the Road shows the development of documentary photographer Ad van Denderen. Between 1965 and 2019, he tackled subjects such as apartheid, migration and the geopolitical conflict between Israel and Palestine. Topics that are still topical today. In this major retrospective, the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam presents highlights from his career that spans almost six decades.

After graduating from the Utrecht School of Graphic Arts, where he was taught by photographer Ata Kandó, he travelled through Asia and the Middle East. In the years that followed, he photographed in Chechnya, Iran, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, South Africa and Southern Europe, among others. But he also took iconic photos in the Netherlands, such as those of his first major documentary project Huizen van bewaring (Prisons) (1978-1979), for which he had himself locked up in the prisons at Kleine Gartmanplantsoen and Havenstraat in Amsterdam.

For his photographs, both free work and commissioned work, Van Denderen was on the road a lot. But he didn’t stand still figuratively either. Van Denderen kept looking for new ways of making images. Around the year 2000, he swapped his narrative black-and-white photography for a more conceptual visual language. Reflection and imagination became more important than registration.

During his many travels, Van Denderen kept diaries in which he noted what he saw and experienced. Based on these notes, he wrote short stories about events that touch on the themes of his work. He recorded some of these stories especially for this exhibition. You can also hear stories by Saman Amini, Abdelkader Benali, Eefje Blankevoort, Kunya Hoang, Cigdem Yüksel and Lebohang Tlali. They give their views on the subjects and themes of Van Denderen’s photographs, making the connection between then and now.

The photo archive of Ad van Denderen (Zeist, 1943) will come under the management of the Nederlands Fotomuseum in some time. The complete photo series Go No Go was acquired by the museum in 2007 with support from the Mondriaan Fund. An iconic photograph from this series can also be seen in the Gallery of Honour of Dutch Photography.

A publication was also issued with the exhibition. We hope to return to this book in a later contribution.


Nederlands Fotomuseum – Monica Nouwens – This One Is For You Serra – 16 December 2023 – 16 June 2024 (Images 2)

Monica Nouwens is a Dutch visual artist, photographer and activist who has been realizing socially engaged projects in Los Angeles for more than 25 years. Her work is based on her experiences in the streets of South East Los Angeles after the sun goes down. Her cinematic visual idiom refers directly to Hollywood noir. Especially for the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Nouwens created a room-filling video installation that features two large semi-transparent projection screens and sound. The exhibition is on display from 16 December 2023. This One Is For You Serra .

Monica Nouwens’ work arises from contact, cooperation and dialogue. She operates in the sphere between private and public, where a sense of community, friendship and other forms of social interaction and organization emerge. Through the generosity of the Angelinos, a part of the city opens up to her which otherwise would remain hidden. Monica Nouwens brings the resulting images back to the community, for instance as posters that she sticks up in the neighbourhoods of South East Los Angeles.

Especially for the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Nouwens created a room-filling video installation that features two large semi-transparent projection screens and sound. For its realization, Monica Nouwens worked with visual artist Sebastián Díaz Morales and video artist Ivo van Stiphout.

Monica Nouwens is a fellow of the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten. She studied at the Willem de Kooning Academy and the California Institute of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally and nationally, including the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam and Foam in the Netherlands. Nouwens is an associate professor in California, Mexico and Canada. In 2011, she participated in the themed exhibition ANGRY: Young & Radical at the Nederlands Fotomuseum. Thanks to the Anna Cornelis Fund, the museum has acquired a number of prints from her project Ecology of Cool (2020). ANGRY – Jong & radicaal .


Nederlands Fotomuseum – Gallery Of Honour Of Dutch Photography – 7 June 2021 – 31 December 2024 (Images 3)

For the first time ever, an Honorary Gallery has been compiled for photography as a contemporary and topical medium. This global first is for the Netherlands and on display at the Nederlands Fotomuseum.

In the Gallery of Honour, 99 photographs together tell the story of the development of photography in the Netherlands from 1842 onwards. It shows the highlights, the innovations and the enormous strides photographers made. Each photograph that is part of the Gallery of Honour is of iconic value due to their social and artistic significance.

The Nederlands Fotomuseum presents the Gallery of Honour to inspire everyone with images from the fascinating development of 180 years of photography. Images that make you look at the world with different eyes with beautiful visual stories that matter. One image has deliberately been left open and that is the audience’s choice. The photo that completes the Gallery of Honour for them: 99+1.

Evolution of 180 years of Dutch photography

An additional exhibition hall of 2,000 m2 has been added to the Nederlands Fotomuseum to present the Gallery of Honour of Dutch Photography as a permanent exhibition. Each photograph is accompanied by information about the background and the reason why this particular photograph has been included in the Gallery of Honour and what makes it so special. The Gallery of Honour starts with the earliest examples of photographs, the so-called daguerreotypes, and shows the work of dozens of photographers who explored boundaries, developed new techniques, and created new images. From black-and-white to colour photography to the digital age. Which photos and photographers have been given a place in the Gallery of Honour of Dutch Photography will be announced at the opening of the Gallery of Honour.

The selection of the 99 photos in the Gallery of Honour was made by a committee consisting of five members. Each expert in the field of Dutch photography . The committee’s assignment was to make a photo selection that collectively provides an overview of Dutch photography between 1842 and 2021. Specifically, these are photos that are or have been significant for the development of Dutch photography. The committee based its choice on the artistic criteria and social relevance, innovation and diversity. The latter means that the committee not only looked at the traditional canon, but emphatically also beyond it.

The photographs in the Gallery of Honour come from various collections: first of all from the rich collection of the Nederlands Fotomuseum, but there are also important loans from the Rijksmuseum, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Amsterdam Museum, Stadsarchief Amsterdam, Nationaal Archief Curaçao and from the collections of the photographers themselves.

A book was published on the gallery and normally we will talk about it in a later contribution.


Practical information :

Nederlands Fotomuseum
Statendam 1,
3072 MD Rotterdam

January 31 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
February 1 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
February 2 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
February 3 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
February 4 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Adults | € 16.00
Student | € 10.00
CJP, and 18 to 24 | € 8.50
Children up to 18 | Free


Kunsthal – Ai Weiwei In Search Of Humanity – 30 September – 3 March 2024 (Images 5.1-5.8)

Kunsthal is one of Rotterdam’s perennial cultural offerings. It is situated in a monumental and innovative building designed between 1988-1989 by architect Rem Koolhaas together with project architect Fuminori Hoshino The architecture immediately attracted great international attention because of, among other things, the innovative use of materials, the location of the entrance and the steep ramps. The programming, too, is always innovative: today we can visit it for an exhibition by Ai Weiwei and painter Doron Langberg.

The show of Ai Weiwei is a large-scale exhibition of one of today’s most prominent artists, the activist, and critic of authoritarian power systems Ai Weiwei. In Search of Humanity is his most comprehensive retrospective to date. Including cultural ready-mades, paintings, works made from LEGO bricks, sculptures, installations, photography, and video works, the exhibition will present an impressive overview of Ai Weiwei’s over-four-decades-spanning career and feature key works from all his different creative periods.

In Search of Humanity offers an insight into the life of the world-famous Chinese artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei, such as his early childhood spent in exile with his father since the Anti-Rightist Movement, or his own detainment in 2011. His artworks show his quest for humanity and a better world. The artist believes we all have a responsibility to take action against threats to freedom of speech and violations of human rights – from the Chinese government’s intimidation techniques and the call for freedom, to warfare and the global refugee crisis.

“Everything is art. Everything is politics.”

Through his work, Ai Weiwei criticises the destruction of ancient cultures, the intimidation methods used by the Chinese government, and societies in which the individual has no freedom. Ai Weiwei puts topical political issues on prominent display. The artist wants to prevent us from forgetting about these important problems as we have often gotten use to their representation in the media. Ai for instance manages to direct our attention to the refugee crisis with an artwork featuring lifejackets that were left on the beach by refugees. The powerful message of art Ai Weiwei’s metamorphoses and transformations appear to be useless monuments to things. The resulting confusion gives us valuable food for thought, especially at a time like today when democracy is in under attack. The exhibition shows how powerful art can be. “Can a civilization that is built on the misfortune of others carry on forever?” In Search of Humanity is an ode to humanity and the freedom of the individual.


Kunsthal Doron Langberg. Part Of Your World – 1 February – 26 May 2024 (Images 6)

Kunsthal presents the first solo institutional exhibition in Europe by artist Doron Langberg (1985). One of the leading figurative painters of his generation, Langberg has gained a reputation for works that celebrate queer subjectivity. Portraying himself, his family, friends, lovers and landscapes, Langberg’s luminous and often large-scale paintings celebrate the physicality of touch –in subject matter and process. Born in Yokneam Moshava, Israel, Doron Langberg currently lives and works in New York City. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in fine arts from the Yale University School of Art.


Practical information :

Kunsthal Rotterdam
Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341
3015 AA Rotterdam
+31 (0)10-4400301

opening hours: Tuesdays – Sundays 10:00 – 17:00 hrs. Closed on Mondays.


Huis Voor De Fotografie at Studios Borgerstraat – 1 February – 4 February 2024 (Images 7)

Last year, while preparing contributions for Art Rotterdam, I came across a new initiative: the House of Photography. This collective is committed to dialogue, mutual support and exhibiting photographers. This year, it is once again taking part in Art Week Rotterdam and organising an exhibition in the Borgerstraat 24 studio. La Huis is presenting the following 16 photographers and image-makers: Sem Rietstap, Merel Hegenbart, Claudia Broekhoff, Tutu Guo, Anne Kaere, Mariska van den Dorpel, Mike Pasarella, Ivy van Mullekom, Eva Damstra, Marijn de Jong, Mariëtte Aernoudts, Alida van Gool, Charlotte van Ruijven, Valeria Moro, Billie-Jo Krulen and David Rozemeyer.


Practical information :

House of Photography
Borgerstraat 24,
3027 EB Rotterdam

@ Studio Borgerstraat

The exhibition will be open on 2, 3 and 4 February from 10am to 7pm.


John Devos
Correspondent L’Œil de la Photographie/The Eye of Photography


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