From June 20 to July 18 Kominek Gallery
presents Henk Wildschuts first solo exhibition in the gallery, comprising his photographic work Food and the accompanying book published by Post editions.
" Few subjects generate as much discussion as the subject of food. Such discussion is increasingly marked by suspicion and pessimism about how our food is produced. Two years ago, when I was asked to make an in-depth study of the subject of Food by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam I was full of preconceptions about the food industry. I saw it as dishonest, unhealthy and unethical. More than that, it was contributing to the decline of our planet, unlike in the good old days, and I felt that the magic word organic was going to solve everything. So when I embarked on this project, my first impulsive reaction was to bring to light all the misunderstandings about food once and for all. "
At VIC (Swine Innovation Centre), Wageningen University collaborates with industry to develop innovations for pig farmers.
The development of the Pigsy pig toilet is based on the animals natural behaviour.
Pigs generally look for a place to sleep first and then usually quite a far distance away a place to relieve themselves. To encourage this natural tendency, the young piglets are stimulated to use a special corner of their pen as a toilet. The faeces is then gathered in a pile and easily and quickly removed. That also means that less ammonia is released in the pen.
Nijsen/Granico, a major animal feed producer, contributes significantly to the recycling of raw materials. The companys slogan is food-for-feed. High quality rejects from the food industry, such as sweets, biscuits, chocolate, bread, cake and dough are processed to make taste enhancing raw materials for pigswill.
The manufacture involves dissolving huge amounts of sugary sweets in water. The syrup is sold as so-called sweet syrup premium. This sweet syrup is an extra ingredient for pigswill as well as a taste enhancer for dairy herd feed. In the latter case it is added to silage, grass conserved for the winter as fodder for cows.
In 2012, Wakker Dier started a campaign against industrially bred poultry. Wakker Dier called the birds plof chickens, because this particular species swelled up in six weeks to 2.3 kilos. Each bird consumes 3.7 kilos of food to achieve this. Wakker Dier opposed this rapid growth, arguing that it threatened the birds well-being.
On the opposite end of the scale to the plof chicken, is the organic Hubbard JA 957. This species grows into a full-fledged bird weighing 2.8 kilos in ten weeks, consuming 6.5 kilos of food.
Wakker Dier organized a health check by a vet for the plof chicken in the photo.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs data centre processes over 21 million records of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs each year. Poultry is not registered, due to the rapid turnover. The data-base records each animals identity code, its date of birth, gender, hair colour, mothers identity code, the numbers of all the companies where the animal has been and the date of death or slaughter. This enables animals to be traced quickly in the event of disease or a public health risk.
In 2012, the database listed 4,032,471 cattle, 1,286,069 sheep and 505,116 goats.
Henk Wildschut ( b. 1967 in Harderwijk, Netherlands ) studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.
Characteristic of Wildschut's work is a contemplative and often distant view on the people and situations he photographs which lends a balance and monumental quality to his photographs that incite the viewer to further reflect on the subject.
With fellow photographer Raimond Wouda Wildschut published two well-received photobooks. For Sandrien LaPaz, published in 2003, Wouda and Wildschut photographed the Indian crew of the chemical tanker Sandrien La Paz, which had been detained in the Amsterdam harbour by the Dutch authorities for over 1,5 years.
For the project A'DAM DOC.k, published in 2006, Wouda and Wildschut were commissioned by the Amsterdam City Archives to document Amsterdams harbour district. They followed the route of the North Sea Canal from the seaside all the way to Amsterdams western dockyards.
He began his Shelter series in 2005. In 2010, this resulted in the book Shelter and the film 4.57 Minutes Back Home In 2011 his book Shelter was awarded with the Kees Scherer prize for the best Dutch photobook of the years 2009/2010. And he won with Shelter the prestigious Dutch Doc 2011 Award for best documentary project.
The last years he worked on the topic Food production in assignment of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The work was exhibited in the Rijksmuseum. Along with the exhibition he published a book called Food.