The city’s museums and galleries have opened their doors and are ready to show you work from cutting-edge photographers. In light of coronavirus (COVID-19), you must book a time slot online before visiting the gallery and follow directions once you’re there.
Venus & Mercury
Huis Marseille has given over their entire 14 galleries to Viviane Sassen, a Dutch photographer known as much for her artwork as she is for her fashion commissions. Venus & Mercury was inspired by the French royal court in the 17th and 18th centuries with Versailles itself providing the starting point. Huis Marseille, with its ornate galleries within an Amsterdam canal house provides the perfect setting for this elegant exhibition infused with eroticism, intrigue, decay, and death. Standout pieces include an immersive and captivating installation featuring Tilda Swinton’s dulcet tones as she narrates over a sequence of timeless images that are every bit as lush as they are beguiling. Equally enthralling, though much smaller in scale, is a surprising selection of historical erotic prints. In another room, a series of three large-scale portraits of noses provides an unexpected account of syphilis that is fascinating. All in all, this is an enticing exhibition that rewards.
Until 30 August // Huis Marseille
Juxtaposing image-making, technology and nature, On Earth is an inspiring excursion around the globe. The images and installations are as pensive and quiet as they are shocking and disturbing. The perspectives by 27 artists who use photography in exciting ways make you think about the state of the world and the cost of human impact on nature. For example, Mishka Henner’s Feedlot images are as beautiful as they are ugly and tackle the meat industry head-on. The images are made from hundreds of high-resolution screen shots taken from publicly accessible satellite imaging software, which are stitched together to create a clear overview of an industry. From the pin-sized cattle through to their featureless lots to the vibrant toxic waste created by intense farming, these images are in your face. Elsewhere, photographers play with installation, merging digital and traditional methods, and video. Disturbing in parts, and beautiful in others, Mårten Lange’s poignant black and white images of simple subjects being a case in point. Catch On Earth at Foam, you won’t be disappointed.
Until 2 September // Foam
Although unknown in her lifetime, former nanny Vivian Maier’s work has become well-regarded around the world after being posted to Flickr in 2009, about two months after her death. Since then her black and white images have been in the spotlight for their depiction of street scenes in Chicago and New York. But this exhibition is about her colour photography where her casual compositions bring Chicago’s streets to life. The images were taken between 1956 and 1986 providing a glimpse into society of the time. These singular shots display a sense of humour along with a keen eye on what makes an interesting photograph. One of my favourite parts of the exhibition is a small corridor where her enchanting self-portraits are displayed. Not only was she a great photographer, she also spoke out for women.
Until 13 September // Foam
World Press Photo
Each year De Nieuwe Kerk hosts World Press Photo, an annual award and exhibition highlighting the very best in documentary photography. I look forward to it every year knowing that I’m going to be angered, dismayed, informed and impressed. It has once again lived up to its reputation with another thought-provoking take on a maddening world. Falling into eight categories, images present major issues and events that sometimes captivated the world’s attention. There are enough stories in the environment category alone. The devastating fires in Australia show a car literally melting as aluminium reaches the necessary 680 degrees to liquefy as people are stranded on a nearby beach. Lake Urmia, once one of the world’s largest salt lakes in northwest Iran is seen drying-up and in Siberia we can see the massive Batagaika crater, formed by melting permafrost, threatening to release vast amounts of methane and impact indigenous communities. These are just a few of the amazing sequences of images in store for you. Image: World Press Photo of the Year, Straight Voice, Yasuyoshi Chiba, Japan, Agence France-Presse.
Until 29 November // De Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam
Check What’s On for more photography exhibitions in Amsterdam.