Ellen Kooi Out of Sight
May 19 – June 18, 2011 Opening Reception: Thursday, May 19, 6-8pm
P•P•O•W is pleased to present Out of Sight, our third solo exhibition with Dutch photographer Ellen Kooi. This new body of work continues Kooi’s exploration of the Dutch landscape as well as her ability to create hyper realities. Kooi situates people in natural settings and through distinct technical feats creates narratives that recall fairytales, movies and dreams.
These large scale photographs, which are always shot in the daytime, allude to various tales that are hinted at but never revealed. Kooi’s background in theatre is evident by the way she stages her photographs. Using a large format camera, she sets up elaborate lighting to create a set within the natural landscape. She stages the character(s) to dramatize and bring into focus the moods and stories of the scenes being created. The natural elements are transformed, becoming more than mere backdrops. Kooi’s intense method of producing and processing her images exaggerates the unnerving realness of the situations being depicted.
All of these photographs tell a story; some are absurd, some are mysterious and some are magical. All of them bring you to this place, this familiar yet unnamed setting where anything seems possible. In both the photographs that show groups of people and those that are solitary, there is a sense of something unseen causing action or inaction. It is this hidden energy that makes the viewer as unaware as the character(s) in the picture of what will happen next. Kooi’s skill at crafting such specific narratives but also cutting away just as the moment of tension is at its height, enlivens these photographs and makes them not a frozen scene but a channel into another world.
Ellen Kooi (1962) was born in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. She has exhibited throughout Europe and the United States. She attended the Art Academy ABK Minerva in Groningen and has been a resident of the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam. Her work has been exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland and in the Photography Biennale in Moscow. She lives and works in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Her newest catalog, Out Of Sight, was published by Filigranes Editions, 2010.