Since time immemorial the Dutch have had to share their land with water. This relation with water is one of the formative elements in the landscape. According to the individual circumstances, in each case the landscape takes on a specific and characteristic form.In the exhibition 'Shared Land', in over 60 black and white photographs the artist and photographer Hans Scholten gives us a picture of the way in which this relation with water in Groningen is translated in the landscape.
What makes the Groningen landscape unique is its spaciousness. The flatness and the ever visible horizon are overpowering. This vastness of the land shades imperceptibly into that of the sea. Nothing seems to stand in the way of the wind.Over the course of history a network of waterways were constructed across the land in Groningen, a coastal province with two seaports and numerous wharves. That network, which in part was created by the cutting and shipping of peat, and after that employed for many other purposes, divides the land. It is a pattern in the landscape in which social, political, economic and historical elements become visible. 'A landscape is changed by man. On the other hand, the landscape itself shapes the people who live in it. The mutual influences are subtle but unmistakable,' according to Scholten.
Post Middendorp Commission
'Shared Land' is the outcome of the seventh Post Middendorp photography commission. This documentary commission has been organized by the Province of Groningen every two years since 1990. It is named for the medical doctor Pieter Bloemers Middendorp and the photographer Tonnis Post, who together in words and pictures recorded the conditions in which the population of the rural areas of Groningen and Drenthe lived and worked at the turn of the last century. The 2005 commission focused on the influence of shipping and ship building on the Groningen landscape.
Hans Scholten (b. Roermond, 1952) studied graphic arts and sculpture at the Minerva Academy in Groningen from 1971 to 1978. In realizing his projects he frequently makes use of photography. Since 2000 Scholten has been an instructor in the postgraduate photography program at St. Joost Academy, Breda.