Exhibition Frans Hals Museum | De Hallen, Haarlem 2003
Curator Anke van der Laan
Catalogue text Theo Baart
Catalogue design Typography Interiority & Other Serious Matters
With financial support of EU Japan Fest and the Province of North Holland
The Haarlem photos were acquired by the art collection of the Province of North Hollland and six Paris and Japan photographes by Frans Hals Museum | De Hallen, Haarlem.
Periferie / Perifery (2003)
In the peripheral area, the free zone for innovation and colonization, becomes visible what we now contribute to cultural history. This landscape is becoming universal; only in details can any traces of a distinct identity be discerned.
For the exhibition Periphery I have photographed at three sites. First around Paris. Along the eastern side of the city the outgoing highways are interconnected by a ring road, the Route Francilienne. A part of the Francilienne runs through an old produce-growing area. There one comes across country estates and former experimental farms of the pre-revolutionary aristocracy. Appearing at the junctions of the outbound highways and the Francilienne are large supermarkets and the French answer to American fast-food imperialism: Buffalo Grill. Main street of the historic village is now the entrance to the shopping mall: the former center has become the periphery.
The second place where I photographed was Hiroshima. Here history and identity are visible only along the outskirts of the buildings that survived the devastation the atomic bomb. Due to physical limitations the city has little room for expansion. At its edges, the traditional rice paddies and greenhouses are swallowed up by the metropolis. A walk northward from the city center provides the image of the interchangeable international city: functional but robbed of its identity.
In the Netherlands I photographed on the west side of the old city of Haarlem. This open area of approximately eighty hectares contains greenhouses and flower-bulb fields. Here the battle between the city and open space continues, oddly enough, to be unresolved. During the Second World War the German occupiers made an antitank ditch which failed to keep back the liberators, though it did succeed in holding back the expansion of Haarlem: the antitank ditch became a ring road. And in this case the ring road remained a road along the edge of the city. For so long.