”We have seen a lot of photography and this develops one’s interests and it influences your taste. Besides representing the more traditional photography we are always looking for that one artist that surpasses the boundaries of the traditional”.
The Ravestijn Gallery Interview with Jaspar Bode @ Unseen by Brad Feuerhelm
The Ravestijn Gallery was founded in Amsterdam in 2012 by Jasper Bode and Narda Van ‘t Veer with a focus on inquisitive and provocative approaches to contemporary photography. Bode and Van‘t Veer respectively bring together several decades of experience curating photography exhibitions and representing a diverse group of photographic talents in the Netherlands and abroad. The gallery showcases several exhibitions a year aimed at exploring new perspectives for photography in all its forms and showing ambitious international works.In addition to its exhibition program and participation in international photography fairs, the gallery holds an expansive collection of photography on site and gathers pictures from the twentieth century and other contemporary photographs.
BF: Your gallery exhibits some fantastic young names in photography, some who push far past the traditional applications of the medium. I am thinking of my personal favorites Nico Krijno, Ruth van Beek, Darren Harvery-Regan, and Eva Stenram. The work is fresh and quite complex conceptually. What draws you to such young and complex works?
JB: It’s exciting work made by equally exciting artists. You sense that in the work, you see their personalities. My associate Narda Van ‘t Veer, and I have been working in the field of photography for over 25 years on two continents. We have seen a lot of photography and this develops one’s interests and it influences your taste. Besides representing the more traditional photography we are always looking for that one artist that surpasses the boundaries of the traditional. Whether this is in the image itself or in a three dimensional world, different layers within one work we find attractive. Especially the younger generation is looking at and using the medium in a fresh and open way and are willing to take risks.
Eva Stenram, Part 3, 2014 courtesy of The Ravestijn Gallery
Jean-Francois Lepage, Recycle 15, 2014 courtesy of The Ravestijn Gallery)
Mona Kuhn, Mirage, 2012 courtesy of The Ravestijn Gallery)
” With the emergence of online auctions and specific websites, buying and collecting art has become easier for everyone. The digital revolution created a brand new clientele in the art world and made the artworks more attainable and visible worldwide”.
BF: Darren Harvey-Regan, Nico Krijno, and Ruth Van Beek focus heavily of sculptural tactics. Ruth’s sculptural form is that of collage, very physical. It is nice to see galleries taking chances on images that cross mediums. Within the state of contemporary practice, we see artists using photography less and less as a representational tool. Why do you suppose we have the shift occurring today? Is it boredom? Evolution?
JB: I would definitely say evolution. You are almost answering your own question: collage and photomontage, for example, are not new in the history of photography. Now photographers can use their hands as well as computers in many different ways. The tools evolve but not the practice. You can now play with the medium and that’s what I look for in contemporary photography. You no longer take a picture, print it, hang it on a wall and wait for the next exhibition. This shift didn’t occur today, though. It was a global and continuing progress in techniques and modes of production. I like the fact that photographers keep the same mentality with different ways to express it to achieve the final result.
BF: Amsterdam represents a rich culture of photography with institutions, galleries, and recently Unseen. I seem to be asking everybody but…. What is it about Amsterdam that allows the city to be so open toward photography?
JB: The Netherlands, and specifically Amsterdam, produced a vast group of amazing image-makers, such as Inez & Vinoodh, Viviane Sassen, Erwin Olaf, Rineke Djikstra and many, many more. They are unique artists with their personal aesthetics and distinctive language doing a great job on the international market. Some of these opened the initial fundamental discussion whether photography is art. I guess it is this history that paved the way for all these galleries and institutions in Amsterdam.
BF: As a collector and dealer of private historic photographs, I have always been quite young in age compared to that of my clients…do you see a younger clientele appearing? If so, why is it that photography resonates with the young collector over that of …say… historic painting, etc.?
JB: With the emergence of online auctions and specific websites, buying and collecting art has become easier for everyone. The digital revolution created a brand new clientele in the art world and made the artworks more attainable and visible worldwide. Photography has also the possibility to be cheaper than paintings or sculptures. Most of the photographs come in multiple editions, which decrease the price, ideal for young collectors.
BF: Unseen has many supplementary events and the city seems filled with museum exhibitions etc… Is there one particular event that you are looking forward to?
JB: Yes, absolutely. Looking forward to seeing a project by Selene Kolman, Stef Kolman and Martine Stig called ListedBlue.com. Their presentation will be at the new exhibition space in the Beurs van Berlage, opening with Jeroen Boomgaard on Sunday, September 20th through to the finissage with Sasha Stone on Friday, September 25th.
(All rights reserved. Text @ Brad Feuerhelm and ASX. Images @ the artists and courtesy of The Ravestijn Gallery.)