Hans Eijkelboom –
Photographic Concepts, from the Seventies until today
An exhibition by Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur in collaboration with the artist.
November 4, 2016 – March 19, 2017
The oeuvre of the Dutch artist Hans Eijkelboom (*1949), in particular his early work, is associated with Conceptual Art, which was very palpable in the 1970s and the subject of discussion worldwide. A crucial experience for the young artist was his participation in the exhibition Sonsbeek buiten de perken in Arnhem in 1971. Well-known personalities such as Carl Andre, Robert Smithson, Douglas Huebler, and Ed Ruscha were among those selected positions under whose influence Eijkelboom began his creative work.
In the 1970s he began developing multifaceted projects that include the photographic image as well as written details framed by the artist. They deal with the development and existence of ideal and conceptual images, with (photographic) clichés and biases, with processes of type formation, with categorization and comparison as methods of structuring. People play a primary role in his photographic series, which are often produced within a timeframe defined by the artist. Eijkelboom prefers to observe individuals in their social and spatial surroundings; he initiates interaction, calls for concentrated perception, and in doing so does not exclude himself as a person.
Key works by the artist are the photographic journals he began keeping in 1979. He initially sought to render the process of taking pictures anonymous. In connection with this, since 1992—again operating the camera in a discreet way—he has been producing his “Fotonotities” (“Photo Notes”). These are done in the shopping streets of our major cities, where he takes photographs for between 20 minutes and 4 hours. He primarily takes snapshot-like pictures of passers-by—of their outfits, their gestures, their bearing—originally in Arnhem, Amsterdam, and other Dutch cities, for which he lays down new criteria every day. He gradually incorporated 40 international cities into his long-term photographic study. Eijkelboom’s shutter release reacts to what we take for granted: business suits, Hawaiian shirts, striped shirts or shirts with numbers printed on them, pants with a floral pattern or quilted winter jackets. He has thus created an extensive pool of countless photographs that he presents according to motif, day, and year—a unique “street atlas.”
It was not until 2014 that Hans Eijkelboom published his “Photo Notes” under the title People of the Twenty-First Century and in doing so not only pays tribute to the encyclopedically arranged oeuvre of portrait and social photography by August Sander, but also to his achievements as a forerunner of Conceptual Art.
In conjunction with the Hans Eijkelboom exhibition, Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur is also publishing an artist’s catalogue (Dutch, German, English) that includes texts by the artist and by Gabriele Conrath-Scholl, Hans Hartog den Jager, Dieter Roelstraete, and Gerrit Willems (Snoeck Verlag).