Emerging Artists


Exhibitions: Scapes


Wouter van Buuren

07 Jan 2012 - 04 Feb 2012

Tuesday to Saturday from 11 to 6 pm

opening: 07 Jan 2012 - 5 to 7 pm - Hazenstraat 60, 1016 SR - Amsterdam

Wouter van Buuren: the artist as acrobat.

Wouter van Buuren (NL 1972) is not only a photographer, he is also an acrobat. After climbing onto cranes, rooftops and other risky locations, often challenging the law and putting his own life in danger, he makes urban and rural landscape photo collages. Van Buuren brings the world to the palm of our hands by creating globe-shaped panoramic images that give us the illusion of all-round world surveillance. His intention, as he says, is to create a new space, to offer the spectator a new perception of it. On the surface his work fits within today’s obsession with digital maps that jump from a simple, pinned down location of a street to a 3D global view of the street itself from which we can zoom out till we see a satellite image of the planet. His work can deceivably seem to be a media oriented, photographic response of Google maps but is it? What does really lie beneath the surface of van Buuren’s timely images?

The end result is the proof, the trace of an intricate process that involves finding the location, taking the risk, feeling the thrill, the adrenaline of the danger and then the satisfaction after succeeding. The importance of these elements: thrill, adrenaline and satisfaction become addictive for the maker; indeed, it is not only about taking pictures, the emotions attached to the process are of utter importance to van Buuren. He works in the same manner as a graffiti artist who breaks the law and risks his life to put his work in the streets: it’s about the pleasure of knowingly doing something wrong and dangerous, getting away with it and being able to develop his own work, the trophy of the deed. Photography and psychology come together in van Buuren’s works through what Sigmund Freud defined as a death drive or death instinct, what is known as “Thanathos”. According to Freud, this death drive compels humans to engage in risky and self-destructive acts that could lead to their own death. There must be a different essential drive between a studio photographer and van Buuren, who goes out into the world, through fences and overwhelming heights; a drive, I imagine, closer to that ..