For about six years now, the video artist and photographer Menno Otten was taking portraits of Amsterdamers at the same tram stop. Different faces, different times of the year, different situations were under the sight of the artist's camera. As a result, Otten has made a total of about several hundred portraits of people.
The Face to Face exhibition at Triumph Gallery will feature more than thirty portraits of ordinary Amsterdamers doing theirdaily routine, as well as video works, which are a documentary shooting. A trip in public transport, waiting at the barber shop, participation in the Easter procession — all these situations reflect a momentwhen a person, for an instant, escapes from the routine and immerses into their thoughts. Meditative contemplation, typical for both photo and video works of the artist, contributes to a closer look at everydaylife. Following Menno, the viewer observes the glare of emotions, reflections, feelings, flattering over people’s faces. Through the use of maximum close-up, the artist manages to achieve a maximum effect of transferring a very intimate moment of observing a stranger. This is brave, but at the same time imperceptible invasion into one’s personal space snatched from a noisy fussy crowd, making itextremely sincere and touching experience. Menno Otten makes visible what, without his camera, would probably have quietly dissolved into everyday life.
Due to intensive work with close-up, Otten, in his works, goes beyond the typical photographic technology. According to the author, he draws inspiration from the paintings of old masters and the typical "Dutch light".