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Bertien van Manen


Bertien van Manen


The internationally renowned Dutch photographer Bertien van Manen is considered one of the innovators of documentary photography in the 1990s. Her works have been shown at the most important exhibition venues for photography, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris or the Fotomuseum Winterthur. At the FOTOHOF, works by the artist from the series “East Wind West Wind” and “Give me your Image” can be seen. “East Wind West Wind”, is a photographic long-term project that was created in China between 1997 and 2000. With astonishing intimacy, Bertien van Manen depicts the everyday life of people in a country that is trying to assert itself between the preservation of traditions and the pursuit of modernity.

Bertien van Manen, »Dali Yunnan, 24 - Hour Cinema«, C-Print, 70 x 100 cm

The second series, Give me Your Image, was created between 2002 and 2006 during the artist’s travels across Europe, where van Manen became interested in and photographed family photos of a wide variety of people. The project and the resulting series “Give me Your Image” was commissioned by the Swiss Foreign Ministry to investigate how immigrants live in the suburbs of Paris. The artist photographed mainly images in immigrants’ homes that they had brought with them from their home countries. She expanded the photographic project in homes of natives and strangers in countries such as Lithuania, Greece, Germany, Italy and Bulgaria. The images record the lives of ordinary people and reflect a mix of political history, culture and religion that could be found in a household.

Bertien van Manen, »Toulouse Mirror«, 2003, C-Print, 50 x 40 cm

Van Manen found these snapshots in a wide variety of domestic situations – hanging on the wall, standing on chaotic desks or stuck on mirrors and windows. Sometimes she took the images out of their original context, with the owner’s consent, to rearrange them on kitchen shelves, living room tables and armchairs, creating amusing and poignant assemblages. The photographs culminate at the point where the world of personal photographs and the world that van Manen manufactures meet, embedded in Europe’s modern history. The book accompanying this series was published by Steidl Verlag in 2005 and was nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in 2007.

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung von Mondriaan Foundation, SDC Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation, Centre Nationale des Arts Plastiques de France, Robert Morat Galerie