Otto Zoo will be presenting Eggs and Rarities, a solo show by the Dutch photographer Paul Kooiker. One of the main protagonists of the international photographic scene, in this show Paul Kooiker will be presenting some 80 works. This is the first retrospective show of his work in Italy and will concentrate on images made over the past ten years.
Eggs and Rarities is a very singular retrospective. Asked to make a series of works representing his development, this Dutch artist decided, in fact, to tell his story through a series of previously unexhibited photos made from 2010 to today, and to lay over each of them a veil of pastel colour (ranging from greenish tomes to brown ones reminiscent of the toning of classical photos) that at once took them back in time. This is only the first paradox of Kooiker’s work; he has taken most of the photos exhibited with digital cameras, at times even simply using a cell phone. The subjects are equally surprising, often taken from the photographer’s everyday work and transformed by his view of them into unexpected, distant, grotesque visions.
Eggs and Rarities is a kind of “encyclopaedia of life”, within which are to be found many subjects quite different from each other: people, animals, nudes, objects, buildings and much more besides, without distinctions and without a break. This is the result of a genuine obsession by Kooiker with the practice of photography, in other words with the actions it envisages: looking, capturing, collecting. It arouses a series of thoughts about the very reasons that lead us to make photos and it sets off a debating mechanism with the observer, who are obliged to question themselves about their own view.
The show at Otto Zoo is rounded off with an installation specifically made by Paul Kooiker for this occasion. This is a large-scale print, never exhibited until now, that is part of a new series the photographer is undertaking on the theme of the nude and posing. In the image, a model lies on a table in a quite unusual position, challenging both the clichés of representation (she seems a soft and superabundant sculpture) and of Eros. The themes of voyeurism, shame, and distance are all investigated at the same time in this photo, part of the old tradition that explores the relationship between the artist, the model, the observer, and the person observed.
Paul Kooiker (1964) lives and works in Amsterdam. He studied at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague and at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. He was the winner of the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1996 and of the A. Roland Holst Prize in 2009. He has held solo shows in many museums and galleries, including FOAM in Amsterdam, the Geementemuseum in The Hague, and the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam. His work has been seen in many group shows in numerous international institutions, including the Venice Biennale, the Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, Paris; the He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzen; the Museum for Contemporary Art, Vigo; the Museum of Modern Art, Moscow; and the Maison Rouge, Paris. He is the author of more than fifteen monographic publications.