The photography of Ellen Kooi (Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, 1962) probes a many-sided confrontation between humankind and nature, between each person and their surroundings, which is a complex and conflictive relationship that today is being redefined like never before and is ripe for reinvention. The planning required for her images calls for a degree of labour and talent that makes the staging of her pictures an act of virtuosity. Natural light is combined with artificial lighting in a reinterpretation of Renaissance aerial perspective that produces stunning results. The influence of the choreography of Wim Vandekeybus, Jan Fabre, and Pina Bausch is paramount in her work in the way uses models to create calligraphy using the body and highly emotionally charged psychological states. Her architectural approach to composition and perspective also plays a significant role, even when she photographs outdoor scenes that are empty and desolate.
Ellen’s re-invention of the traditional “figure in landscape” genre is more than re-interpreting or re-reading Flemish old masters like Vermeer, Brueghel, Patinir or Bosch, it comes out of nowhere, out of the everyday. Her images are unstable and full of hidden questions that make us feel an inner pulse, a sensation.
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