About

Awoiska van der Molen (1972) is a Dutch artist working with the medium of photography. Her black and white images are abstract representations of anonymised landscapes that are the result of her urge to return to the place from which we stem: the uncorrupted territory of nature.

This year Van der Molen is shortlisted for the Prix Pictet, the global award in photography and sustainability.
The winner of the Prix Pictet will be announced in November 2019, with the opening of the exhibition of works by the 12 shortlisted photographers at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

In 2017 Van der Molen was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize for her solo exhibition ‘Blanco’ and was she the recipient of the Larry Sultan Photography Award 2017. She was awarded the Japanese Hariban Award in 2014 and was finalist at the Hyères Festival International de Mode et de Photographie in France in 2011. Her first monograph ‘Sequester’ was nominated for the Paris Photo / Aperture First Book Prize in 2014 and it received Silver Medal for ‘Best Books from all over the World’ in Leipzig, Germany.
Van der Molen studied Architecture & Design followed by photography at Minerva Art Academy Groningen and Hunter City University in New York. In 2003 she completed her MFA in Photography at the St. Joost Academy in Breda, Netherlands.

For ten years van der Molen has taken black and white, abstracted images in nature. Spending long periods of time in solitude in remote landscapes, she slowly uncovers the identity of the place, allowing it to impress upon her its specific emotional and physical qualities. Using her personal experience within the landscape, she instinctively searches for a state of being in which the boundary between herself and her surroundings blur. The few images that travel back with her offer a visceral and elusive ambiguity. Their complexity resists a generative reading of place by framing its essential parts anew. Van der Molen often employs a nuanced tonal palette that displaces the perceptions of space, distance and time. Without titles or any indications of location, her large-scale silver gelatine prints recreate her personal experiences in the landscape for the viewer and remain open to interpretation. Van der Molen’s pictures are printed by hand in the dark room, continuing the intimate, laborious sequence of slow processes and creating a unique stillness that emanates from her work.

" ...The longing to return to an essential state has been a reoccurring motif in my work. At first in my portraits and urban landscapes, both seemingly unspoilt by the fleeting outside world. And then, gradually, in the remote natural landscapes, which now is the focus of my work.
To reach this 'state', I ‘peel’ away the superficial presence of the fleeting now, of man and even of land itself, until I sense I have reached the core.
At times, I think of my work as the Monadnock — a geological rock, left behind after the soft material around it has been removed through a long process of erosion. Only the hardest stone, the core, remains."

Van der Molen's work is represented in public collections such as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Pier24 Photography in San Francisco, Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Museum of Photography in Seoul, Huis Marseille in Amsterdam and Fotomuseum The Hague.
She has held solo exhibitions at FOAM Amsterdam; Museum Kranenburgh, Bergen NH; Kousei-Inn, Kyoto and participated in numerous group exhibitions including Les Rencontres d'Arles festival, France; The Photographers’ Gallery, London; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; FoMu, Antwerp and Huis Marseille, Amsterdam.

 

EDUCATION

2001-2003 MFA Photography Post St. Joost Breda, NL
1999-1999 Hunter City University NY Photography, New York, US
1998-2001 Minerva Art Academy Photography, Groningen, NL
1994-1997 Minerva Art Academy Architecture & Design, Groningen, NL

Solo Exhibitions

2019 
Annet Gelink Gallery   'Am schwarzen Himmelsrund', Amsterdam 
Museum Kranenburgh 'Tempus', Bergen NH

2018
Casemore Kirkeby Gallery 'Status', San Francisco, US

2016  
FOAM Fotografie Museum 'Blanco', Amsterdam, NL
Unseen Photo Fair Kristof De Clercq gallery, Amsterdam, NL
Photobook Melbourne Gallery Melbourne, AUS
Kristof De Clercq Gallery Ghent, B
Purdy Hicks Gallery London, UK

2015  
Unseen Photo Fair Kristof De Clercq gallery, Amsterdam, NL
Kousei-In Sequester in Collotypes, Kyoto, JP

2014 - 2006
Wetering Galerie Amsterdam, NL
Cultuurcentrum Hasselt Hasselt, B 
Alt. +1000 High Altitude, Rossiniere, CH
FOAM 3h Maintained Ground, Amsterdam, NL
Natuur Museum Groningen Portretten, Groningen, NL

Group Exhibitions

2019
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Fotomuseum Den Haag 'La Soupe de Daguerre', Den Haag, NL
Les Rencontre d' Arles 'On Earth', Atelier des Forges, Arles, FR
Pier 24 Photography 'Looking Back', San Francisco
Out of Sight  'Two man standing. Part 2',  Antwerp

2018
FOAM Amsterdam  'Loading… Works from the Foam Collection'
Huize Fraenkendael 'The Image of a Private Collection'
Victoria & Albert Museum Into the Woods: Trees in Photography, London

 

2017
Aperture Foundation Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, New York
Museum für Moderne Kunst  Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, Frankfurt, DE
The Photographers Gallery Deutsche Börse Photography Prize,  London, UK
Garage Rotterdam How to disappear completely, Rotterdam, NL
Pier 24 Photography The Grain of the Present, San Francisco


2016  
The Hague Museum of Photography Nacht ontwaakt, Den Haag, NL
Kranenburgh Museum Black. From charcoal to high-res, Bergen, NL
The Library Project Phototropism, Dublin, IRL
Dubai Photo Exhibition Dubai, UAE
Stedelijk Museum Adition, schenking Piet & Marieke Sanders  Amsterdam, NL

2015
FoMu Antwerpen My Flat Land: on photography and landscape, Antwerp, B
Stedelijk Museum The Best Dutch Book Designs 2014, Amsterdam, NL
Espace Vessy, Glaciers en péril & Alt.+1000, Vessey, CH

2014  
Musee des-Beaux-Arts L’Art, c'est le livre, Le Locle, CH
GEM Museum of Contemporary Art Fotoverhalen, Den Haag, NL
Kristof de Clercq Gallery Ghent, B
Stedelijk Museum De Best Verzorgde Boeken, Amsterdam, NL

2013  
Huis Marseille, Museum for Photography The Rediscovery of the World, Amsterdam, NL
Museum Kranenburgh Wonder, Bergen, NL
Wetering Galerie The last Picture Show, Amsterdam, NL

2012  
Noorderlicht 'Pays/Paysage Land/Landscape Pays/Paysage (duo w. Rob Nypels), Groningen, NL

2011  
Foam Amsterdam Pop in, Amsterdam, NL
Wetering Gallery (duo w. Wijnanda De Roo), Amsterdam, NL

2010  
DZ Bank Frankfurt A Touch of Dutch, Frankfurt, DE
Nederlands Fotomuseum Rotterdam Quickscan #01, Rotterdam, NL
Central Museum Utrecht In your Face, Utrecht, NL
25th Nadežda Petroviæ Memorial Possibilities of Choice, Ĉaĉak,Serbia

2009  
GEM Museum of Contemporary Art Still lives, Den Haag, NL
Gallery Lacen I spy with my little eye ( w Marijn Akkermans, Wafae Ahalouch), Paris, FR

2008  
Museum de Fundatie Collection Isala Klinieken, Zwolle, NL
Wetering Galerie Drawings and photographs, Amsterdam, NL
Rencontres de la Photographie d'Arles Dutch selection Nuit d' Europe, Arles, FR
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Descubrimientos PHE, Madrid, ES
TENT. Rotterdam La Luna Piena, Rotterdam, NL

2007  
CBK Rotterdam Macht van de Nacht, Rotterdam, NL
Loods 6 De Bagagehal, De Salon, Amsterdam, NL
Historic Museum Rotterdam Inspiratie Rotterdam, Rotterdam, NL
Resy Muijsers Contemporary Art Gallery Tilburg, NL

2006  
GEM - Museum of Cont. Art Met Stip, icm Fonds BKVB, ( my Urban Landscapes) Den Haag, NL

2004  
Fotomuseum Den Haag De Donkere Camera ( 3-man show w Dirk Braeckman, Michael Ackerman), Den Haag, NL
Amsterdam Art Fair 12 portretten voor de Haagse Schouwburg, Amsterdam, NL

2003  
Photofestival Naarden Civilians in Uniform, Naarden, NL
B92-REX Civilians in Uniform, Belgrade, Serbia

2001  
Noorderlicht Fotomanifestatie satellite program, Groningen. NL
Bertha - Karl Leubsdorf Gallery Think one way, New York, US

Collections

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Pier24 Photography, San Francisco
Kranenburgh Museum, Bergen, NL
Huis Marseille - Museum for Photography, Amsterdam
Fotomuseum Den Haag
FOAM, Amsterdam
The McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco
Museum for Photography, Seoul
De Brauw Collection, Amsterdam
Neuflize Vie ABN AMRO, Paris
Isala Kunst collectie, Zwolle
ING Collection, Amsterdam
Rabobank Art Collection
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and various private collectors

Related activities

(selection)
Chico Hot Springs Portfolio Review Reviewer and Speaker, Montana, 2020
Ecole Supérieure CEPV Visiting lecturer and workshop, Vevey CH 2019
Skinnerboox Book Award Jury, Jesi IT 2019
Hartfort NY photography MFA Visiting lecturer, Berlin 2019
Gerrit Rietveld Academie Visiting lecturer, Amsterdam 2018
Museo San Telmo Lecture and Workshop, San Sebastian ES, 2018
Ecole Supérieure CEPV Visiting lecturer + workshop, Vevey CH 2018
California College o/t Arts Lecture: Larry Sultan Visiting Program. San Francisco 2017
De Donkere Kamer Artist talk, Brugge, Belgium 2017
Fotodok In conversation with Rob Hornstra. Utrecht 2017
The Photographers' Gallery in conversation with Anna Dannemann. London 2017
Ecole Supérieure CEPV Visiting lecturer / workshop, Vevey CH 2017
Centraal Museum Artist Talk on Cragie Horsfield, Utrecht, NL 2017
Hartfort NY photography MFA Visiting lecturer, Berlin 2016
AKI School of Arts External examiner, Eindhoven, NL 2016
Photobook Melbourne Gallery Artist talk, Melbourne 2016
FOAM Amsterdam Lecture ‘Sensing the Landscape’ 2016
De Donkere Kamer Artist talk, Antwerp 2016
UNSEEN Photo fair ‘Premiere Talk’ with Kim Knoppers, Amsterdam 2015
Minerva Art Academy Visiting lecturer, Groningen 2015
De Donkere Kamer Artist talk, Rotterdam 2013

Press

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The Guardian 'Prix Pictet 2019 shortlist, photo essay' 5.7.2019
See All This 'De wereld als je studio'  2019 (online, Dutch)
NRC ’Plekken die de zintuigen niet bevuilen’ Tracey Metz 1.2.2019
Het Parool 'Ik ben op zoek naar een oerstaat' Kees Keijer 7.3.2019
Unseen Platform 'A day with Awoiska van der Molen' 2019 (online)
NY Times Magazine  'The Voyages Issue' Sept 2018
Hyperallergic 'Photographers Among the Trees, from Steichen to Bae Bien-U' 2018 (online)
Frankfurter Rundschau 'Die Dunkelheit und manchmal das Leuchten' June 2017
The Guardian Sean O' Hagan: 'The top 10 photography exhibitions of 2017' Dec 2017
De Morgen Ewoud Ceulemans: 'Mijn stemming maakt het werk' June 2017
De Volkskrant 'Lixenberg en van der Molen genomineerd' Merel Bem, March 2017
The Guardian Sean O' Hagan: '...the Deutsche Börse photography prize' March 2017 
De Standaard ‘Oorverdovend stille landschappen' Stefan Vanthuyne June 2016  
H ART ‘De intensiteit en stilte van plekken in foto’s vervat’ Sofie Crabbe June 2016 
See All This '10 hoogtepunten van Awoiska uit 2016 jaar' No.3 2016
Documentum The Instagram Series, Fall Line Press 2016  
Financial Times 'Snapshot': Blanco by Awoiska van der Molen. Jan 2016  
The Independent Magazine 'In the Frame' 5.3.16
Het Parool ’Geraakt door de geest van het landschap’ J.P. Ekker 19.3.2016  
De Volkskrant ‘Donker en zwart, zwart en donker’ Jeanne Prisser 16.2.2016  
NRC 'In Nederland zijn teveel prikkels' Daan van Lent  2016  
Unseen Magazine, Sean O’Hagan: ‘What is photography?’ 2015  
NRC ‘De verschrikking van de natuur’ Rianne v Dijck 13.8.2015
Conscientious 'Sequester' Jörg Colberg 2014
The Guardian, Sean O’Hagan: 'Bewitched by blackness...’ 2014
Photobookstore Magazine, Rodrigo Orrantia 'Sequester' 2014
De Witte Raaf, E.J. van Alphen: 'Time saturation..' Essay 2014  
Dagblad Trouw 'Verzinken in de natuur' J. de Wolf. 07.01.2014
Scrapped Magazine Fine art magazine, NY 2013 
Dagblad vh Noorden 'De overweldigende kracht van het landschap', I. Pietersma 2012  
'5' . 5 different artists - by Studio Pure Beograd 2011
P/f magazine Portfolio #3 Edie Peters 2010  

Catalogues / Anthologies
'Photographers Looking at Photographs - Pilara Foundation Collection'. Pier24 San Francisco 2019 (forthcoming)
'Into the Woods: The Tree in Photography’ Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK 2019 (forthcoming)
‘Failed Images: Photography and its Counter-Practices’ Prof. E.J. van Alphen, Leiden, 2019
Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize London 2017
The Grain of the Present Pier 24 Photography, Text by Kim Beil. San Francisco 2017
Object Onder / Object Below Sanders Collection, Pieter & Marieke Sanders, Amsterdam 2015
Hariban Award 2014 Collotype printed, Kyoto
The Marseillaise collection catalogue Fotomuseum Huis Marseille 2014
Fotoverhalen collection catalogue, Fotomusem Den Haag 2014
Alt+1000 High Altitude catalogue, by Nathalie Herschdorfer 2011 
Hyeres 26th International Festival Photography catalogue, Raphaelle Stopin 2011  
Quickscan #01 Nederlands Fotomuseum Rotterdam, Frits Gierstberg 2010
De laatste fotograaf? AKV/St. Joost, Breda 2009  

Videos

Short film-column initiated by Joep de Boer
Camera: Joep de Boer
Sound: Tom Polkamp
Noordrijn-Westfalen, Germany 2015

 

In 2014 Awoiska van der Molen was the first recipient of the Japanese Hariban Award and was invited to Kyoto. Here she collaborated with master craftsmen of the Benrido Collotype Atelier to produce collotype prints of eight of her works. The result was exhibited in a former samurai residence: Kousei-in. One set of 8 collotype prints has been acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

 

 

 

 

 

Foam Museum visits Awoiska van der Molen at her studio while she's preparing for her exhibition 'Blanco' at Foam in
January 2016. Subtitles follow soon.