In 2008, the young photographer Pieter Henket took a picture of upcoming artist Lady Gaga, which eventually became the cover of her multiplatinum album The Fame. Basically from that moment Henket was a household name in contemporary glamour photography. In 2010, confirming this major status, the photograph of Lady Gaga was exhibited as an icon of the 21st century in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Twelve years had passed since Henket arrived in New York City in 1998 as a 19-year old to take up studies at the Film Academy. Instead of his original goal to become a filmmaker, Henket now officially was a major still photographer.
The first of June 2013 can be seen as another milestone in the career of Henket as it marked the opening of his debut solo exhibition of photographic work in The EYE, the new superstructure of Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle, the Netherlands. The museum re-opened it’s door for the public again after a period of a year of renovations and the construction of the EYE with the ambitious and exclusive exhibition of Henket’s work.
The cinematic character of Henket’s photographs is just one particular element of the photographer’s aesthetic which reminds of the work of Francesco Carrozzini and Steven Meisel. By the stylization of his subjects, combined with the way he mixes light and colour in his pictures, Henket seems even to refer to the Dutch masters of the 17th century, which are stated to be a source of inspiration for the Dutchman. Henket directs and stage-manages. In this way he manages to remain true to his first love: filming.
The exhibition in Museum de Fundatie exemplifies Henket’s love for cinema in two parts of the exhibition: Interrogation Project shows a series of photos for which Henket invited well-known actors and actresses to pose for him. Subsequently the photographer then quasi-accused them of crimes they had not committed and in this way the different reactions to the accusations became a sampling of human emotion.
With short film The Wait, especially made for the exhibition, the photographer translated the same theme into moving video images. From a fixed camera angle he filmed eight Dutch actors such as Halina Reijn, Marwan Kenzari and Arjan Ederveen, who are awaiting the return of their interrogators to their solitary police cell during two hours. The videos are shown simultaneously on large screens, immersing the viewer into the intorregation.
Accompanying the exhibition Uitgeverij De Kunst is publishing a book with Pieter Henket’s work, with an introduction by Els Quaegebeur and designed by Paul Boudens.
The exhibition will run until the 17th of November 2013, Museum de Fundatie is opened Tuesday until Sunday from 11:00 to 17:00.
For more information see here.