Mathieu Keuter / Arnoud Bakker - Perfect Women and Tall Tales

This spring the Noorderlicht Photogallery is presenting promising photographic talent from the Northern Netherlands: the Groningen photographers Arnoud Bakker and Mathieu Keuter. Over the past few years the development of their careers as artists has been given an extra impulse by their participation in the 'Nieuw Licht' incentive project. The results are to be seen in a double exhibition in the Noorderlicht Photogallery and the publication of their first book by Noorderlicht's own publishing house, Aurora Borealis.

Arnoud Bakker

Arnoud Bakker (b. 1972) can be described as an aesthetic romantic. He is obsessed by the concept of the ideal, all-encompassing woman, while at the same time sharing the harrowing realisation that she does not exist. His work seems to be one ambitious attempt to nonetheless create her and preserve her for eternity. Bakker makes whole series of portraits and shots of female nudes, in the hope of distilling separate elements, each perfect in themselves, out of this collection. Some day these - in a new composition - will epitomise perfect beauty. Like an alchemist Bakker experiments with photographic techniques, extreme exposure times and chemical processes. He places his models in timeless settings; only the light matters, and not the space. The young women pose without embarrassment before the old pinhole camera. They expose themselves to the light-sensitive paper exactly as long as it takes to leave their essence fixed upon it. In the intimacy as the shot is taken, at first they belong only to the photographer, but later they belong to each of us a bit too.

Arnoud Bakker took the Photography course at the AKI in Enschede, and has been a free-lance photographer in Groningen since 2000.

Mathieu Keuter

The work of Mathieu Keuter (b. 1978) can also be called romantic, and has everything to do with his unusual way of life. He is constantly searching for adventure in 'the other', the marginal. He moves in a marvellous world of gangsters, squatters, reggae, graffiti and other rough things and people, and has a talent for transforming chance encounters and events into something very special, a form of literature. He records these real-life fairy-tales with his camera, writing a personal history in images as he goes. At the same time he investigates their effects and use. By employing various techniques, an overdose of images and different forms of presentation he is able to carry the beholder along into his own cosmos, the universe of the intrepid master of the art of living, Mathieu Keuter.

Mathieu Keuter was a student in Photography at Minerva Academy in Groningen, and for a couple years followed the 2nd phase Photography course at St. Joost Academy in Breda.

Nieuw Licht (New Light)

New Light is an incentive project established by Noorderlicht. New Light seeks to help professionalise and more broadly profile the photographic talent present in the North of The Netherlands. By offering a platform for, and coaching the photographic productions that come out of its programme, New Light helps promising photographers on their way to national and international recognition.

Opening and book presentation, Friday, 8 May, 5:00 p.m. by mr. Jaap Dijkstra, Alderman for Culture, City of Groningen. You are most welcome!