Johan Van der Keuken: Up to the Light, Amsterdam

Up to the Light is a celebration of the outstanding work of filmmaker and photographer Johan Van der Keuken. Running 30 March until 9 June at EYE (Amsterdam), the exhibition focuses in particular on the extraordinary way in which Van der Keuken brought together contrasting images in his films and observed a world in constant transition. The artist was a constant traveler, recording what he saw both at home and abroad, and he punctuated his observations in Africa, Asia or Latin America with similar or indeed diametrically opposed situations. He was also one of the first filmmakers to attempt a cinematic translation of time into space.

Van der Keuken was a man who was able to train his eye to both photography and film. Up to the Light presents his films and a large number of vintage photographic works, exploring his socially engaged practice and his consistency in form and content. Using large freestanding screes, the exhibition uncovers how the artist was able to combine a variety of sequences into a single film while allowing different images to contrast.

He also spent time producing cinematic portraits of artists, such as Lucebert and Tajiri in the early 1960s, demonstrating a photographic talent, capturing powerful visuals and provocative character. Van der Keuken managed to record important and trivial everyday events from varies angles, always aware of the fact that a single image of reality doesn’t exist. Moving towards the end of his life, he became increasingly interested in how his works related to the space in which they were shown and Up to the Light is a continuation of this.

Johan Van der Keuken: Up to the Light, 30 March – 9 June, EYE Film Institute, IJpromenade 1, 1031KT Amsterdam, Netherlands.

1. Johan van der Keuken, still from De Grote Vakantie, 2000, 35mm, color, sound, © Pieter van Huystee Film en TV (Nederland).
2. Johan van der Keuken still form Beppie, 1965, 16mm, b/w, sound, © VPRO (Nederland).