Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pivotal persons

Last Friday was the opening of the exhibition “Camden Interiors” in London, UK.
Large sized images of 50 living rooms with their occupants standing next to their TV set.
Made in 1972, they are now exhibited again for their artistic and historical value.

From the photo book "The First Twenty Years".

The next day an e-mail was received:

I have literally just come back from Swiss Cottage Gallery in London and I was absolutely fascinated by your photo project "Camden Interiors" from 1972 that the gallery will be exhibiting for the next few weeks. I am a journalism student and I would like to write an article about it and thus help raise awareness of your unique work.

Always these kinds of responses are motivating to continue to work.
And start yet another project.

But then there are the questions of the journalism student to answer.
Like these two:

1. Back in 1972, when knocking on doors trying to persuade people to have their apartments photographed, was there any incident, trouble or maybe a funny memory that you can recall?

2. Why, in the first place, did you decide to accept the offer of Camden Arts Centre and work on this one-of-a-kind project?

The answer to the first question is easy.
Hardly anything is remembered from trying to find 50 locations of which the occupants agreed to have a picture taken of them in their living room.
The job was done together with a young woman and it was very nice to work with her.
But in the memory not one visit to any of the living rooms is remembered.
Hey, it is 38 years ago!

Then the second question.
Why, in the first place, did you decide to accept the offer of Camden Arts Centre and work on this one-of-a-kind project?

The photo project “Camden Interiors” was a personal idea and proposed to the female Director of the Camden Arts Centre.
She wanted originally to show work that was already made:
sequences on the beaches of an island in the Netherlands.
But it was unacceptable to function as an artist photographer like all the other artists at the time: to make art and show it later in a museum.
There was this strong need to want to connect as many people as possible to the museum.
Through the own abilities to make art.

At the time, some museum people were open to new experiments and these curators were able to leave behind the traditional way of thinking about art and how to present it.
They opened their museum doors and gave the floors to progressive artists.

This is essential in the career of an artist.
To meet persons who become pivotal and instrumental in the development and presentation of the oeuvre.
There have been several of these generous angels in this career and the director of the Camden Arts Center in 1972 was for sure one of them.


No comments: