AMSTERDAM.- Van Noords technique is broad, intuitive, playful. There are calm, crafted images; others more immediate, captured snapshots of events, places, lights; and some are filled with distorted colours, shapes, blemishes the outcome of van Noords use of discarded film. He similarly takes on a wide range of subjects: flowers, decapitated fish, children, nudes, pregnant women, fields, cows, uniting in their exhibition to offer a humorous, sometimes dangerous game of association. Van Noord draws inspiration from his close environment, close friends and family, with studies of everyday life, the environment and people.
Light offers a consistent fascination for van Noord - in the glow of street lamps, light captured on tulip petals, the eery unreality of a long-exposed night-shot. In Zelfs Als Molen van Noord photographs himself naked and waving on a nighttime street, creating a ghoulish and inscrutable picture. The artist brings to the fore the material, chemical reality of what a photograph is; images include the films border, negatives are scratched and dirtied, prints blurred and overexposed, developing a very physical photography. This physicality contributes to their emotional impact, investing them with a sense of age: they come with their own story, history, experience. This sense of capturing an essence, aura of his subjects is extended in his portraiture, be it of a nude or child, by an intimacy and trust which lends each an emotional verisimilitude.
In the portraits of Arno Nollen, his sitters gaze creates a compelling tension for the viewer. Trusting, defensive, truthful, reticent, aggressive, alluring; the gaze is very often a mix of contrasting signals. In each case, Nollen achieves an exposed, raw portrait of his model. Their poses are often stiff, arched, uncomfortable, especially when compared to those we recognise from both art and media. His frequent method of photographing a person head-on is very direct and confronting - it creates an objective feel of harshly documenting a person. This is especially true of the standing nudes; nudes usually are framed and posed in more seductive and acceptable composition. One connects his work to the photography of passports, high street clothing magazines, amateur porn.
What separates it, however, is Nollens understanding of light, setting, backdrop, coupled with his eye for understated hair and clothes. This unobtrusive sense of details ensures his work never feels insensitive or indiscriminate. Nollen makes his photographs in series and the works exhibited here explore vulnerability: the portraits of the old and young, alongside his pictures of women exposed and photographed so close and intimately that their eyes and expressions cannot be hidden or diguised, make for a stark study in vulnerability. His use of repetition, showing multiple images from a shoot, emphasises both similarities and differences: how slight changes in expression or posture can alter our reading. And, whether it is fascination, lust, disapproval, disquiet, this repetition serves to reinforce our response.
Andre van Noord (Zaandam NL, 1964) is a self-taught photographer working since the 1980s and this will be his first gallery exhibition for which these works have all been made over the last seven years.
Arno Nollen (Ede NL, 1964) shows internationally and has exhibited at such institutions as the Frans Halsmuseum (Haarlem), Kunsthall (Bergen) and Paleis de Tokyo (Paris) as well as in Documenta Kassel.