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Exhibition -

Ellen Kooi - Being Places

Ellen Kooi - Being Places

Exhibition overview:

Ellen Kooi - Being Places Ellen Kooi - Being Places Ellen Kooi - Being Places

10 Nov - 05 Jan 2019

TORCH gallery

10 November, 2018 – 5 January, 2019
Opening 10 November, 5 – 7 pm

Extra event: 24 November 5 pm, modern dance performance during Amsterdam Art Weekend


We proudly present 'Being Places', a new solo exhibition by the Dutch photographer Ellen Kooi (1962) at TORCH gallery. Opening on the 10th of November, the show consists of her most recent work, including never seen before works that have been specially created for this exhibition. Once again, Kooi explores the compelling relationship between man and landscape. She brings to light the visual contrasts and interfaces of us ‘being places’, by means of panoramic photographs. 

The two-word title can be applied literally to the work, as 'we are at places' or 'we being places'. While it is impossible to be one with the outside world, we keep striving for this to happen. At the same, the title can refer to the two main components of Kooi's work; our being in this world and the places we use for our being. The places that Kooi chooses for her work are mostly but not exclusive to, Dutch landscapes. When she comes across a landscape that stands out to her, she tries to figure out what the essence of this feeling is. Often this has something to do with a certain anxiety. Once this is realised, Kooi starts to think about ways to transfer this captivating experience through a photograph. By placing models into the landscape and allowing them react to it, Kooi uses the body language of the figures to create a narrative. Together with her knowledge of theatrical light, the landscape becomes an intriguing place, where the character becomes an inherent part of its alluring aura.


The subject of ‘being', is a challenging topic, which thousands of brilliant philosophers and artists have dedicated their life’s work to. Kooi’s approach is that 'beings’ are very delicate. According to her, the things that give the most meaning, are the most fragile. Therefore, the figures in Kooi's work evoke tenderness and modesty. In the midst of a rough and wide open background, this provides a threatening and tense atmosphere. The suspense of a child being engulfed by a void or seeming to be wandering in infinity.


Kooi also resonates with modern dance quite heavily and has used it often as inspiration for her works. She sees how dancers interact with the spaces around them through their dance movements and translates that into her work. Therefore, on Saturday the 24th of November, during Amsterdam Art Weekend, we will host a modern dance performance in the gallery. The choreography will be inspired by the works that are on view at that moment.



The work of Ellen Kooi is represented by five international galleries: TORCH gallery in Amsterdam, Galerie Les Filles Du Calvaire in Paris, Catherine Clark gallery in New York, Espacio Liquido in Gijon and Camara Oscura Galeria De Arte in Madrid. Her work is exhibited in museums worldwide and was featured in the last world exhibition in Madrid. During the last few years, she has had solo-exhibitions during AIPAD in New York, at the Centro de Arte Alcobendas in Madrid and during the Docks art fair in Lyon. Work by Ellen Kooi is part of the collection of the Frans Hals Museum, Fries Museum, the Borusan Collection and Collection Hermès amongst many others. Ellen Kooi graduated from Minerva art academy in Groningen in 1987 and finished her postgraduate education at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam in 1995. She lives and works in Haarlem, The Netherlands.