Paul Kooiker, a Dutch photographer, is known for his photographs that appear to be fascinating, mysterious and sometimes disturbing. His works often are born as series in which he delves into many themes such as people, animals, nudes, objects, architecture and much more, always creating an incisive shift in the gaze, especially in the type of framing and final rendering of the image. Kooiker is currently a much sought-after photographer in the fashion world, because with his images he manages to break free, seemingly effortlessly, from the paradigms of beauty to which we are accustomed by creating shots with subjects portrayed in unusual poses, bordering between human and fiction. The artist’s works are often made with an iPhone, as all the photographs in Fashion, an exhibition dedicated to Paul Kooiker at the Foam Gallery in Amsterdam which is open to the public from Dec. 8th, 2022 to Feb. 12th, 2023.
“In general, I’m not interested in the single image, I like to show the study of a project.”
The Fashion exhibition brings together a wide variety of images from his fashion commissions using the term “fashion” in a way that differs from its classic meaning: it is usually a concept that represents what is trending at the moment, but Kooiker’s shots are instead characterized by timelessness, transporting the subjects portrayed into a world of their own. His images in fact fail to be placeable within a space-time context, appearing surreal, almost as if they were only an imagination of the viewer. The artist’s style refers to the history of photography and to several artistic movements, but at the same time his images are detached from them resulting extremely recognizable. To take mysterious photographs Kooiker uses very simple objects and tools, such as cardboard, dust and smoke, portraying an almost Freudian beauty in the way he plays with dark desires, fetishes and subconscious dreams. Through the photographs viewers feel transported inside another world, Paul Kooiker’s world: parallel, completely detached, and one that can not be copied. The models adopt poses so unusual that they look like dolls, whose faces he often leaves out of frame, obscuring their identity and elevating them to the status of art. The details are engaging but at the same time can disturb the observer because they are different and unusual. The wide variety of images presented in the Fashion exhibition create a comprehensive installation that functions like a hall of mirrors: it freezes the speed of the fashion industry and reveals the absurdity of human desire.
For further information foam.org.