Night does not show things, it suggests them. It disturbs and surprises us with it strangeness. It liberates forces within us. Which are dominated by our reason during the daytime.
- Brassaï (Paris by Night - 1933)
Photography exists by the grace of light. So it is hardly surprising that, ever since the birth of the medium, photographers have pushed the use of light to the limit. Night photography is one of the challenges. Night photographers play with contrasts of light and dark, black and white or visible and invisible, and use their photographs to evoke an atmosphere of magic, drama, psychological tension or vulnerability. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag possesses a magnificent photography collection, comprising over 7000 items. In this exhibition, the Museum of Photography presents its nocturnal and crepuscular highlights, supplemented by unique items on loan from private collections.
The subtle, almost velvety gradations of grey in a dark, nocturnal landscape by Awoiska van der Molen, snowflakes against a black sky forming an almost abstract image in the work of Koo Jeong A, a deserted city with brightly lit show windows by Karl Hugo Schmölz and sharply contrasting scenes of sparkling nightlife shot by photographers like Johan van der Keuken, Eddy Posthuma de Boer and Ed van der Elsken – all these ‘nocturnes’ are included in Night Wakens. The exhibition comprises three distinct themes: landscape, the city and nightlife. It offers a cross-section of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag’s wonderful photography collection, supplemented by unique items on loan from private collections. From Carel Blazer’s 1936 Fireworks in Paris to Bruno van den Elshout’s dark blue horizon, on which the sun will appear in thirty minutes’ time. The era, technique, atmosphere and subject vary from photo to photo, but all succeed in capturing the magical feeling of night-time in a single image, often with a very limited amount of light.
Photographers featured in the exhibition:
Klaus Baumgärtner, Werner Bischof, Carel Blazer, Aysel Bodur, Koos Breukel, Desiree Dolron, Vojta Dukát, Marco van Duyvendijk, Bruno van den Elshout, Ed van der Elsken, Gilbert Fastenaekens, Gerard Fieret, Leonard Freed, Nan Goldin, Dirk de Herder, Evelyn Hofer, Gerry Johansson, Johan van der Keuken, Koo Jeong A, Helena van der Kraan, Raymond Meeks, Emiel van Moerkerken, Awoiska van der Molen, Max Natkiel, Alewijn Oostwoud Wijdenes, Willem van de Poll, Eddy Posthuma de Boer, Margot Rood, Karl Hugo Schmölz, John Studulski, Dougie Wallace, Gerard Wessel, Michael Wolf.
The renowned Dutch law firm of Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn is chief sponsor of the Hague Museum of Photography and is proud to participate in its forthcoming re-opening.