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CAPA VISA: Conversation with Artist Hans van der Meer and Curator Claudia Küssel

CAPA VISA – Visual Insights and Stories from Abroad

Photo: Capa Center

Within the framework of the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center’s program called CAPA VISA, leading foreign professionals in the field of contemporary art and photography – visiting Budapest for professional or private reasons – present their activities, research areas at the Capa Center. The aim of the program series is to create an opportunity for knowledge exchange between international and Hungarian photographers, artists, heads of institutions, curators, independent professionals, writers, and editors. CAPA VISA programs are held in English

On Friday October 21, 2022, from 17.30, Amsterdam-based photographer Hans van der Meer and curator Claudia Küssel will have a conversation related to the exhibition Minor Mysteries which is currently on view at the Capa Center. In parallelity to the exhibition, the talk will be structured around the period Hans van der Meer worked in Hungary and especially in Budapest in 1985-’86. This period was of great importance for the development of the visual language of Hans van der Meer. During the talk, a wide range of visual footage will be presented to reference the influences in this early period of his career. In addition, Hans van der Meer will also present a first copy of the publication Minor Mysteries which appears in English and Hungarian with a wide selection of works from the Budapest series. The talk will be followed by an open discussion, which will also provide space for questions from the audience. 

Date: October 21, 2022, 5.30 pm–7pm
Venue: Capa Center
Free admission.
The event will be held in English.

Hans van der Meer bio:

Hans van der Meer (Leimuiden, the Netherlands – 1955) belongs to the most distinctive Dutch documentary photographers of his generation; he is a storyteller in image and text. His approach is based on an inquisitive look and a sharp sense of observation, in which empathy, social involvement, and a strong sense of humour and absurdity go hand in hand. They run like a thread through his entire oeuvre. In addition to the series he shot in Budapest in 1985-86, the exhibition Minor Mysteries also includes highlights from later projects that relate and cross-reference Van der Meer’s origins to the period when he worked in Hungary.

He studied at the Technical School for Photography in The Hague between 1973-1976 and attended the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam in 1983. During his studies, he went to Hungary in 1984, where he photographed everyday life on the streets of mainly Budapest. His observations were published in QUIRK OF FATE (1987) and won a World Press Award in the Daily Life category.

The following project was WORK (1993) in which body postures illustrate the transition from physical labour to automation. Amsterdam Traffic (1994-1995) shows hilarious traffic situations in the centre of Amsterdam. In 1995 he started to photograph amateur football in the lower divisions, choosing fields that offered a view on the surrounding landscape. The resulting landscapes were published in the book Dutch Fields (1998) and brought him international acclaim in the art world and beyond. Commissioned by several photography institutions across Europe, the following years he was able to produce a large amount of photographs and some videos in Europe as well. In 2006 European Fields – The Landscape of Lower League football was published by SteidlMack and the traveling exhibition was launched at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam. In 2004 NRC newspaper had invited him to travel around the countryside and write alongside his photographs. In the daily column Achterland (Hinterland) he starts to question the dominant culture in The Netherlands, a theme which was further explored in The Netherlands – Off the shelf (2012). In book and exhibition his own photography and his fascination for vernacular photography is brought together, by including catalogue images of street furniture. In 2018 Time to Change – The Changing World of the Dutch Cow was published, in which he is looking at and thinking about cows and consequently dairy farming, animal welfare, hi-tech food production and its impact on the environment.

Currently he is working on The measuring man, a project about monitoring the living environment in the Netherlands, that illustrates the changing position of humans towards nature. His photographs and writings were published in leading Dutch newspapers de Volkskrant and NRC. He has been teaching documentary photography at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague between 2011-2021 for ten years, his work is part of private collections and museums.

Hans van der Meer: Minor Mysteries