Stark Contrast: Paris and Berlin

Maria Austria (1915-1975), Paris, 1960. Photo Courtesy of Maria Austria Institute, Amsterdam and the Fotomuseum Den Haag

Gare du Nord, Dutch photographers in Paris 1900-1968                           Fotomuseum Den Haag

Gare du Nord is the latest exhibition by the Fotomusuem Den Haag, featuring the work of Dutch photographers in Paris during 1900 to 1968. At the time when the French capital was deemed a premiere metropolis – with its bustling nightlife, romantic clime and charming avenues – the City of Light truly inspired quite a number of intellectuals, writers and artists from across the globe. Dutch photographers were no exception.

Centering on the magnificence that is Paris, the exhibit presents the work of about fifty Dutch photographers, each with their own technique and favored subject matter. From breathtaking cityscapes to the Parisian Banlieues, everyday people to celebrities and icons, these photographs allow for a glimpse into the city’s past, weaving a rich tapestry of Parisian life during that time. Indeed, the images capture Paris’ mystical allure, leaving even the most globalized, twenty-first century viewer bewitched.

Jonathan Meese
Jonathan Meese (2006). Photo Courtesy of GEM Musuem voor Actuele Kunst, Den Haag.

Jonathan Meese, Totalzelbsportrait                                                                           GEM Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Den Haag

Accompanying Gare du Nord is a retrospective on German artist Jonathan Meese, entitled Totalzelbsportrait at the GEM Museum voor Actuele Kunst. Known for his burning advocacy on the “Dictatorship of Art,” the Berlin-based painter, sculptor and performance artist has chosen his “total self-portrait” as a unifying theme. In doing so, Meese reveals a multifaceted portrait, simultaneously playing the role of child, animal and dictator. Though his image constantly appears in the majority of his work, Meese makes use of his likeness to oppose self-addiction, commonly associated with the self-portrait format. ✌

“Art does what it wants, not what the artist wants. The artist may be ill, stupid, dead – art is not interested. Submit to art and you no longer need religion.”

Exhibit Information:

The Gare du Nord and Totalzelbsportrait installations are open until 15 January 2012. For more information on the exhibitions and museums, visit their websites: Fotomusuem Den Haag and GEM Museum voor Actuele Kunst.

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