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Maasvlakte Hardcover – August 13, 2014
MAASVLAKTE. To reclaim land is the main story of the Netherlands, everybody knows that, but since the reclamation of Southern Flevoland (completed in 1968) the Netherlands has not participated in a major project of scale anymore. From the very first activities in 2008 I have been documenting the progress extensively, from the very first Genesis-like proceedings till the official opening in May 2013. And it’s an ongoing project still. LIGHT. Because the new Maasvlakte area protrudes out of the Netherlands’ natural coastline for miles into the North Sea, often light and weather conditions are quite different than on the mainland, thus creating exciting lighting possibilities for photography. It reminds me of Joseph Beuys and his theory about Dutch Light. He said that the light for which Holland was famous had lost its unique radiance because of major reclamations of the IJsselmeer in the 1950's and 1960's, thereby acknowledging not only that it had disappeared, but that it had actually existed in the first place. The odd thing was that frequently I found extraordinary light in these reclaimed areas, very different than, say, a few kilometers landward. ART INFLUENCES. I suppose you could say the Dutch painting heritage is in my genes. Through my education as a painter first, but also as a museum dweller. 17th century masters like Potter, van Ruisdael and Vermeer were an influence, but also the abstracted landscapes of Mondrian and the intelligent photographic research of post-WW2 artist Jan Dibbets. Photographic influences have been the American New Topographics movement and Düsseldorf School (mainly Andreas Gursky & Thomas Struth). POLITICS & AESTHETICS. Though personally I’m not fond of coal as an energy source there're few things as beautiful as a mountain of coal catching the light. It is my intention that my pictures are charged with this ambiguity.