Photo Notes, 1992 - Present
June 24 – July 22, 2021
The project Photo Notes, 1992 – Present by the Dutch artist and photographer Hans Eijkelboom (Arnhem, 1949) is presented in an outdoor exhibition in the heart of Budapest at Madách Square. Motivated by the lack of possibilities to experience art and culture during the pandemic, the Netherlands Embassy has initiated this exhibition in the public space.
Hans Eijkelboom is a phenomenon. From the early nineties, he has built a systematic photographic oeuvre of unsuspecting people walking in shopping streets, moving through crowds in the major cities around the globe. The images are presented in simple grids, according to a certain methodology, which allows for endless possibilities of comparison of communalities and has resulted in a monumental representation of Zeitgeist and the human condition. In addition, it is the first time that this body of work, which normally presented on the walls of museums and cultural institutions, is brought to the public space, right into the context where it originates from.
His way of working is as disciplined and systematic as the work manifests itself. Working almost daily according to a specific routine -in which he allows himself to work within a certain timeframe, from half an hour up to a maximum of four hours- he has created a visual diary that makes the passing of time tangible: from the instant moment of taking a picture, to the time it takes to document a certain subject, to the time of the project itself. Best described as an anthropological collection of human appearance and behavior Photo Notes, 1992 -Present is a continuous representation of typologies of people which starts from a truly humanist interest in people.
An effort of ordering our apparently chaotic daily life, resulting in a pattern of specific form and content that can be read from many perspectives. Often, he is approached as a fashion photographer as his collections are a real treasure for anyone interested in trends of the mainstream or the literal significance of street wear. However, in contrast to fashion photographers, he is not interested in fashion as such, nor in originality, trendy or glamorous aspects that the character types he captured would initially indicate. His message is the sober determination of a condition. Although his working field is the street, he is not a street photographer in the classical sense either. The camera is merrily a necessary tool that enables him to collect typologies of people.
Looking at Hans Eijkelboom’s representation of human beings, we cannot conclude otherwise, that despite our efforts we are not so different after all and that the age of individualism seems to be an illusion. This body of work, which by now consists of around 8.000 Photo Notes, illustrates the complexity of our desire for being original and authentic within societies that more and more strive for conformism. At the same time, the work points out to a broader scale and shows how consumer society, globalism, and the digital age have influenced both our appearances as well as the outlook of cities, especially shopping areas, which, according to Hans Eijkelboom, form the mirrors of society where life in all its diversity reveals itself.
Hans Eijkelboom started his early career as a conceptual artist and began his project in his previous place of residence Arnhem. He continued in more than 40 cities, including New York, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, London and, since 2005, Shanghai, Tokyo, Cairo, Mumbai, Mexico City, Nairobi, Moscow, São Paulo and, for the occasion of the exhibition, in Budapest as well.
He has published more than 30 publications and diaries. People of the Twenty-First Century, his retrospective monograph was published by Phaidon in 2014. The work of Hans Eijkelboom has been exhibited at major venues around the world. In 2017 his work was presented in both Kassel and Athens during Documenta 14. At the moment his work can be seen in the exhibition Dress Code, Der Spiel mit der Mode in the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, and the major traveling exhibition initiated by the Barbican Centre Masculinities, The Liberation through Photography.
Curated by Claudia Küssel
Graphic design by Zoltán Szmolka
Exhibition production: Kunstfocus kft.
This exhibition is initiated and made possible by the Netherlands Embassy in Hungary.