Inkjet print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper mounted on Dibond
with protective uv spray coating in maple wooden frame
Frame 100,90×71,23 cm
Image 89,00 x 59,33 cm
Edition 3 + 2 a.p.
Individual work from installation Collected Memory.
Johan Nieuwenhuize photographs the sky on the exact location, date and time on which events took place that are part of our collective memory. E.g. the sky over Ground Zero, New York on September 11th., the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland, or the sky over Utøya, Norway. The pictures resemble abstract images but are in fact the opposite: very lively reminders of what happened in the past.
Since beginning in 2009, Nieuwenhuize has travelled to locations where events of historical import have taken place. On the exact month, day and minute of their passing, he has aimed his camera in the sky and taken several pictures. At times, these are events that have affected us all – 9/11, of course, but also the 1989 student uprising in Tianan’men Square. Other times, they are events that hold meaning for the photographer and his countrymen – the 2004 murder of Theo van Gogh, or the 1992 plane crash in the neighborhood of Amsterdam Bijlmer.
As with IMG_, Made in China, and Zelfportretten, what Nieuwenhuize explores in the series Collected Memory is the generic quality of our experience of modern life. The even, varying tones of blue and gray that drift listlessly across these images suggest the way in which our collective knowledge via newsprint and electronic media has supplanted the richness of the first-hand encounter. The photographer shows us a parallel world above our own, abstract and detached. He reminds us of the virtual cloud into which human life has begun to shift, a place where national boundaries dissolve along with traditional indicators of identity and character.
Excerpt from The work of Johan Nieuwenhuize by Lorne Darnell, September 2013. Read the full text here
On November 13th 2016 Johan Nieuwenhuize photographed the sky over concert hall Bataclan in Paris.