Friday, August 8, 2014

Hans Eijkelboom | Portraits & Cameras

Hans Eijkelboom
Portraits & Cameras
Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Self Published, 2009
64 pp., 21 x 13.8 cm., softcover
Edition of 1000

Martin Parr, who selected this title as one of the more important photo books of the decade, wrote the following about the artist: "Anthropologists often make use of photography in their research, especially when gathering information about a society's strange and fascinating habits. If I were an anthropologist, the first photographer I would call upon is Eijkelboom.” Another book artist who employs serial photography, Erik Kessels calls Eijkelboom "one of the most remarkable people I have come to know during the last few years."

Eijkelboom's first exhibited work in 1971, when he was only 21 years old, in the landmark SONSBEEK 71 exhibition. He was the youngest artist in a show that included Vito Acconci, Stanley Brouwn, Tony Conrad, Hollis Frampton, Dan Graham, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, Nam June Paik, Ed Ruscha, Fred Sandback, Richard Serra, Paul Sharits, Michael Snow, Joyce Wieland, Lawrence Weiner, and many others.

The Amsterdam-based artist has produced over thirty artist's books, many of them self-published. One of the best, and hardest to acquire (it's available for $1500.00 US, here) is In de Krant, or Being in the Newspaper. For ten consecutive days Eijkelboom succeeded in having his picture appear in the same newspaper. He tracked a press photographer and snuck into the frame whenever possible, in photographs ranging from hard news such as accidents and demonstrations, to promotional pieces like store openings. It's a durational performance documented unwittingly by the press.

For With My Family, in 1973, Eijkelboom rang random doorbells during the day when husbands and fathers were likely to be out at work. He convinced the women answering the door to let him in and pose for a family portrait, with him in the place of the missing father, often with a toddler bouncing happily on his knee.

A more recent project, 10 Euro Outfits, consists of self-portraits while travelling. For each, Eijkelboom photographs himself wearing outfits he bought locally, never spending more than ten euros.

In Portraits & Cameras photography itself (the camera, representation, etc.) becomes the subject matter. The artist was sixty years old at the time, and the sixty pages of the book reproduce an image of the artist at every year of his life. These cropped portraits are coupled with a a magazine ad featuring a camera introduced in that same year. The artist ages as the technology advances. Like most of his work, the book is smart, compelling and humorous.

It's available here for £85.00.

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