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Exhibition of photographs by scenographer Jan Versweyveld opens at Foam in Amsterdam
karina en fedja, 2009© Jan Versweyveld.
AMSTERDAM.- The Amsterdam cultural institutions Foam and the Toneelgroep Amsterdam together present the exhibition 'inbetweens' by Jan Versweyveld. Versweyveld has been scenographer since 2001 and in-house photographer since 2005 of the Netherlands' largest repertory theatre company, Toneelgroep Amsterdam. The exhibition at Foam is part of Toneelgroep Amsterdam's jubilee year celebrating its 25th anniversary.

For Foam, Versweyveld has selected work that is a major departure from conventional theatre photography. For the first time in his career, the spotlight will be on Versweyveld's unique double role as scenographer and chronicler of Toneelgroep Amsterdam. In line with his views on scenographic transparency, he shows unguarded moments as only he can capture them: before and after a rehearsal, or from a viewpoint that the audience would never be able to see. In more that 40 never-before-shown images, the 'inbetweens' exhibition unapologetically lays bare the unpredictability and the secrets of the theatre.

Due to the unique position held by Jan Versweyveld as scenographer and house photographer, he is involved in creating the theatre productions from the very beginning. He is perpetually present at the rehearsals, takes pictures for hours, and is able to get very close to the actors. Versweyveld thus moves through an area where other photographers don't usually go. It's not unusual for him to take pictures from backstage, in the middle of a scene or even to go beyond it. He is fascinated by the vulnerability of the actors - how they live and work in the spaces he has designed, as well as how they prepare, their concentration, the moments when they step out of their role, their doubt, their exposure of themselves. It's no longer possible to tell from the photos whether they have anything to do with the theatre at all - whether you are looking at a real bedroom or at an underground car park. You can't tell whether you are witnessing a real marriage crisis or whether it's 'just' theatre.

Jan Versweyveld (1958) has been the in-house designer for Toneelgroep Amsterdam repertory theatre company since 2001. He is head of scenography (works include Angels in America, Kruistochten, Het temmen van de Feeks, La voix humaine, Opening Night, Romeinse tragedies, de Russen!, Teorema and De Vrek) and is responsible for the graphic design. Since 2005, Versweyveld has also provided photographs for the productions. Jan Versweyveld has also worked as a guest lecturer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and co-founded the scenography studies programme in Antwerp. He has designed scenery and lighting for a variety of theatre productions.





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