Yonder, Infidel And Works

By Floor Kortman

Three new exhibitions open at Foam tonight, Marnix Goossens’ Yonder, Tim Hetherington’s Infidel, and the first exhibition of Dutch duo Otto Kaan, Works.

Marnix Goossens – Yonder (19 July – 6 October)

The new exhibition by Dutch photographer Marnix Goossens explores the idea of artificial implementation of nature in our homes. Goossens has been fascinated with this subject for several years. It’s a fascination that stretches beyond grandmother’s flowery curtains and the crazy tiling in a bathroom that hasn’t been redecorated since the sixties. According to Goossens, these natural themes in the form of monochrome palms on wallpaper, unrealistically idyllic posters or those corny patterned tiling in various ugly shades of brown, act as a surrogate for the exotic destinations that we secretly long for.

Through the use of his technical camera, which is a big,  laborious kind of instrument, Goossens successfully shares with us his fascination for these boring details, rendering them in carefully constructed and framed close up views that show a different, subtle kind of beauty.

foam marnix goossens

Skylight from the series Yonder, 2011 © Marnix Goossens

Otto Kaan – Works (19 July – 10 September)

This is the first solo exhibition of Dutch duo Berend Otto and Guus Kaandorp, and I’d like to think I had a small part to play in its conception. When Kaandorp graduated from Art School two years ago I wanted to buy his booklet, which only came in an exclusive edition of 15 copies, if I remember correctly. It was quite expensive and I didn’t have the money at the time so I gave him my address so he could send it to me. When I saw him a week later and I asked him about it he said “Yeah about that, is it ok if I sell the one I promised you to someone else, ‘cause the curator of Foam also wants one.”

In the five series they show in the exhibition, the primary interest of their photography is photography itself. They explore the medium and the materials, the way in which the photographer works in his studio. And they do it in a style that channels the retro, but retains the tradition of what can be seen as a typically Dutch style; clean, bright colours, well lit and constructed still life, weird objects shot from quirky angles and with a lot of humour.

This exhibition comes at an interesting time for the pair; it’s the very beginning of their careers, and they’re “…simply trying to find ways to make photography work”, keep an eye out for these guys, ’cause they might just succeed in doing so.

foam otto kaan

Reflector, 2012 © Otto Kaan

Tim Hetherington – Infidel (19 July – 7 September)

This exhibition shows an overview of three different series of photojournalist Tim Hetherington, mostly shot in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2008. As a journalist, he didn’t have a classic approach to his subject and he portrayed the experience of war through the eyes of the individual. One of the most gripping works in the exhibition is Sleeping Soldiers, a short film from 2009 that overlays portraits of sleeping soldiers with images and sounds of war. The film is powerful and suddenly makes the experience of war very real and very claustrophobic.

In addition to the exhibition, make sure you check out the accompanying book. It’s small size and simple black softcover makes it look and feel much like a diary. The photos are organised to tell a visual story in which we get more and more intimate with the soldiers and their daily life in a warzone. We don’t actually see them in battle until over halfway through the book. The pictures take up the whole page and with that transition, we are sucked into the horrors faced by guys whose lives we’d just been so comfortable with on the previous pages.

foam tim hetherington

Still from video Sleeping Soldiers, 2009 © Tim Hetherington

Foam is always free for Subbacultcha! members