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Den Haag: Photography and form

  • Gemeentemuseum 41 Stadhouderslaan Den Haag, ZH, 2517 HV Netherlands (map)

Triangles, squares and circles – look around you and you see them everywhere. So it’s hardly surprising that geometrical forms occur constantly in our everyday image culture, especially in the field of photography. Frequently they are deliberately captured by the photographer; sometimes they are a happy accident. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag possesses a large photographic collection, which the Hague Museum of Photography is keen to showcase. The multifaceted subject of ‘geometry’ is the starting point of this overview, which includes the most aesthetic and dramatic examples in the Gemeentemuseum’s collection.


One of the main focuses of the Gemeentemuseum’s photographic collection is the Dutch New Photography of the 1920s and 30s. Photographers like Piet Zwart and Paul Schuitema were intrigued by shapes and patterns, and less concerned about subject or content. They experimented with a new visual idiom that was directly derived from the technical possibilities of the medium, such as the potential for extreme close-ups, bird’s eye views and optical distortions.

Taking the museum’s extensive New Photography collection as its point of departure, the playful Photography and Form presentation embarks on a quest for geometrical shapes in photography. Some photographers have sought them out deliberately, as in Frank van der Salm’s stylized architectural photographs, Jan Dibbets’ perspective studies or Gerard Kiljan’s arrays of circular plates. Others have captured geometrical forms by accident, only afterwards recognizing the geometry inherent in the round wheels of a bicycle or the rectangular outline of an interior. Based on unexpected visual similarities, this exhibition combines twentieth-century photography with works by contemporary photographers featuring triangles, circles and squares.


The exhibition has been created by curator Wim van Sinderen and assistant curators Hanneke Mantel and Esther Scholtes. It is sponsored by Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn. Thanks are also due to the Erik Bos Fund.