• Ruth van Beek

Taste my photons...

Ruth van Beek, Wim Bosch, Bert Danckaert, Elspeth Diederix, Eric Jan van de Geer, Michael John Whelan, Sabrina Jung, Astrid Korntheuer and Ingo Mittelstaedt

Noorderlicht is known for its penetrating, socially engaged exhibitions. For Taste my photons... attention shifts to the photographic medium itself – in a most unexpected way. In this work by nine photographers from The Netherlands and other countries reality is so hemmed in that only an artificial and fragile construction remains. These are not images captured by the photographers, but rather made by them, where in an almost natural way photography enters into a cross-fertilisation with other media, including painting, installation art, video, serigraphy and sculpture. Here the aim is not to be true-to-life. The image is approached in the same way a painter approaches a canvas: a blank field where something can be brought about in a purposeful manner.

Photography as evidence

It was not all that long ago that photography was still seen as the modest handmaiden of journalists, scientists, travellers and family photographers. A photograph was first and foremost evidence of some event. Photography took a bite out of time and implicitly suggested both a before and an after, and therefore dramatic development. It was only in the 1980s that, following in the footsteps of pioneers such as Man Ray and Jan Dibbets, the boundary between documentary photography and visual art was definitively blurred, as the 1985 exhibition Fotografia Buffa in the Groningen Museum testified. The debate about of whether photography was art was superseded.

Since the digital revolution of the 1990s – as a result of which the amateur could take on the role of the journalist and news photographers surreptitiously began to give reality a helping hand – a new question has arisen: is this still photography? This question is also current in the domain of visual art, where painting and photography have grown toward one another in unforeseen ways.

In Taste my photons... there is only the here and now of the autonomous image. The apparently formal and abstract images do not give anything away easily; on the contrary, their feigned detachment invites the viewer into keener looking and discovery. Taste my photons... is an argument for the profundity of the slow gaze. In this way the exhibition acts as a counterbalance to the everyday bombardment of images that we can only superficially penetrate.

About the curator

The artist and curator Wim Bosch (b. 1960), a resident of Groningen, graduated from the Minerva Art Academy in 1989, where he trained as a painter. Fifteen years ago he began to apply photography in his practice. The paint has disappeared, the photography has remained. In 1992 Bosch received a Royal Subsidy for Painting, and as a guest instructor has taught at art academies in The Netherlands and abroad. Although he normally keeps his work as a curator and artist separated, here he has provided insight into his choices for Taste my photons... by the addition of his own work.