Ellen Kooi - Being Places

Ellen Kooi - Being Places

We proudly present 'Being Places', a new solo exhibition by the Dutch photographer Ellen Kooi (1962) at TORCH gallery. Opening on the 10th of November, the show consists of her most recent work, including never seen before works that have been specially created for this exhibition. Once again, Kooi explores the compelling relationship between man and landscape. She brings to light the visual contrasts and interfaces of us ‘being places’, by means of panoramic photographs.

The two-word title can be applied literally to the work, as 'we are at places' or 'we being places'. While it is impossible to be one with the outside world, we keep striving for this to happen. At the same, the title can refer to the two main components of Kooi's work; our being in this world and the places we use for our being. The places that Kooi chooses for her work are mostly but not exclusive to, Dutch landscapes. When she comes across a landscape that stands out to her, she tries to figure out what the essence of this feeling is. Often this has something to do with a certain anxiety. Once this is realised, Kooi starts to think about ways to transfer this captivating experience through a photograph. By placing models into the landscape and allowing them react to it, Kooi uses the body language of the figures to create a narrative. Together with her knowledge of theatrical light, the landscape becomes an intriguing place, where the character becomes an inherent part of its alluring aura.

The subject of ‘being', is a challenging topic, which thousands of brilliant philosophers and artists have dedicated their life’s work to. Kooi’s approach is that 'beings’ are very delicate. According to her, the things that give the most meaning, are the most fragile. Therefore, the figures in Kooi's work evoke tenderness and modesty. In the midst of a rough and wide open background, this provides a threatening and tense atmosphere. The suspense of a child being engulfed by a void or seeming to be wandering in infinity.

Kooi also resonates with modern dance quite heavily and has used it often as inspiration for her works. She sees how dancers interact with the spaces around them through their dance movements and translates that into her work. Therefore, on Saturday the 24th of November, during Amsterdam Art Weekend, we will host a modern dance performance in the gallery. The choreography will be inspired by the works that are on view at that moment.

Ellen Kooi - Being Places

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