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Martin Parr Foundation opens Dutch artist Hans Eijkelboom's first solo exhibition in the UK
From ‘Street Fusion, Bristol in 2019’. © Hans Eijkelboom.

BRISTOL.- New work by Dutch artist Hans Eijkelboom, shot in Bristol over the space of just 11 days in July 2019, has gone on display at the Martin Parr Foundation. These photographs represent a snapshot of the people of Bristol at this one particular point in time and will form Eijkelboom’s first solo exhibition in the UK.

This new work is both a continuation of and departure from Eijkelboom’s ‘People of the Twenty-First Century’ project in which he captured pedestrians on the streets of cities from Amsterdam to New York and Paris to Shanghai over a period of 20 years. For this new project, Eijkelboom worked methodically in the centre of Bristol, selecting a busy pedestrian area and staying there from 30 minutes to a few hours. He spent time observing passers-by before recognising a common type or trend – whether it be a garment such as a transparent raincoat, an omnipresent brand, an accessory such as a small dog or street food, or a form of expressed individuality such as coloured hair.

The exhibition, comprised of over 750 photographs has been laid out over the length of 24 metres in a grid of three lines. This is the first time that Eijkelboom has displayed the work in this format and the photographs all relate to those on either side and above or below – drawing on superficial visual connections.

Throughout his career, Eijkelboom’s work has focused on the role of appearance and clothing on identity and the individual. His projects are often simple and engaging in their conception, replete with humour, and yet address wider questions about contemporary society, globalisation and the individual’s level of choice and role within this.

‘For the first time, my photos are not on display in isolated groups, but as part of a continuous stream of observations during walks in the centre of Bristol. The basis of the exhibition is the question: which is more important for forming our image of the world – the isolated moment or the continuous flow of more or less repeating images that come to us every day? The exhibition has two ambitions; to show a moment from the stream of images that form my world view, and a fleeting snapshot of society in Bristol.’ --Hans Eijkelboom

‘If I were an anthropologist, the first photographer I would call upon in Hans Eijkelboom. Over a long career, he has photographed mainly in the street, observing people and places with the discipline, rigour and engagement that all the hallmarks of anthropology. In fact, if I were a visitor from another planet looking for information on the nature of city life, I would also engage the services of Eijkleboom. Because of this, along with DMB Represents, we commissioned him to study the people of Bristol and this set of over 750 images in both spellbinding and fascinating.’ --Martin Parr

Hans Eijkelboom lives and works in Amsterdam. His work has been published in more than 50 books and publications the first in 1977 and more recently ‘People of the 21st Century’ (Phaidon, 2014), ‘The Street & Modern Life’ (Multistory, 2016) and ‘Hans Eijkelboom – Photo concepts 1970 till now’ (Snoeck, 2017). His work has been included in over 100 solo exhibitions as well as numerous group exhibitions and festivals including ‘ ‘Performing for the Camera’ (2016) at Tate Modern, London and ‘Strange and Familiar’ (2016) at the Barbican, London, where his work will be shown again in the exhibition ‘Masculinities: Liberation through Photography’ in 2020. In 2017 the Hague Museum of Photography held a retrospective of his work and this year, his series ‘With my Family’ (1973) was named one of the core Dutch artworks of the past fifty years by Museum de Fundatie Zwolle (NL) Freedom – in the exhibition ‘Fifty years of art in the Netherlands’.

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