Fotonotities 1992-2007, een keuze uit het fotografisch dagboek [Photo Notes 1992 - 2007: A Selection from the Photographic Diary]

Hans Eijkelboom


Installation, 160 x (60 x 50 cm).
Materials: C-print, Epson luster paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK7700_M450).

The Dutch photographic artist Hans Eijkelboom, who helped start the revival of conceptual art in the Netherlands early in the seventies and played an important role in the appropriation of an everyday, straightforward photographic practice as an a perfect conceptual method, took ‘photographic notes’ every day for fifteen years (from 1992 to 2007). The monumental result is amateur anthropology disguised as a diary, of the global village on the threshold of the twenty-first century. Indeed, Eijkelboom is to the urban world of 2008 what August Sander was to Germany in 1900. Armed with a digital camera, Eijkelboom went out into the street every day – apart from Sander, the time-honoured tradition of street photography is another fundamental historical reference in his work – to map a certain (and always unsuspecting) segment of the local population, ranging from young Afro-Americans wearing Scarface shirts in New York, middle-aged Chinese men in horizontally striped sports shirts in Shanghai, and mothers and daughters shopping together in Paris. When this highly focused observation operation is cast into an exhibition, it is invariably in the form of a grid, a quasi-parodic typology in which identity (‘the same’) and difference (‘the other’) counterbalance or emphasise one another. Eijkelboom’s objective view satirizes that of the social sciences – many of his photo series are about clothing, uniforms, vestment codes and conventions – but at the same time betray a certain humanist sympathy which Sander also had: his dream of the complete overview, of an ordered and encyclopaedic view of matters, is not a dream of power. Unlike Michel Foucault, Hans Eijkelboom’s photographic structuralism does not conclude with the end of man, but with an open, questioning view of the future – which in this case is Chinese.

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