Edgar Cleijne - Galerie Max Hetzler

Galerie Max Hetzler is pleased to present for the first time photographs by Edgar Cleijne.

Edgar Cleijne lives in Rotterdam and New York.

The series of photographs presented at the Holzmarktstrasse space were taken by the artist in Lagos, Nigeria, picturing office interiors and aerial views.

These photographs invite thinking about different kinds of scale. All of them prompt reflections on human intervention. Aerial photographs show the effect of such intervention on a macro-level and put in context on a micro-level working environments such as office interiors. Here the identity of the occupant expands outward from the ongoing negotiations between the personal and the formal.

In the Bishop's office, his own portrait hanging high on the wall, centers his absence. The lolling lady in the National Theatre office escapes boredom by peering at a family snapshot that she inconspicuously managed to tag on the wall of her otherwise empty room. A tiny wooden carving placed on the fridge reminds the police commissioner to pray.

While the conditions identified in the aerials seem to depict extreme cases, it actually describes the way in which Africa deals with the heritage of cultural invasion. Not letting themselves being absorbed, they challenge and change the role of acquisitions thus changing an oppressive, dysfunctional scenario into a working condition.

As an example, the second photograph from the series of aerial views shows a trade fair complex, a 'gift' of the communist Yugoslavian state, which was used once in 1977, and then left unoccupied for more than twenty years. More recently, a union of spare parts dealers commissioned the design of individual blocks alongside the old complex. These blocks spread out densely from the outer walls. To facilitate the heavy trading of the spare parts dealers, competing banks have set up within the fortress like structure of the original exhibition halls. Edgar Cleijne's work is not as much about aesthetics, but the idea of identity in space.

The deliberate decisions made on space by the people of Lagos force the viewer to rethink its reading. Cleijne tries to locate fiction in reality and it is the connection and continuous negotiation between fact and fiction in a framed reality that he tries to explore in his photography.

In 1997, Edgar Cleijne started to collaborate with Rem Koolhaas on the Harvard Project on the City whose perceptions he significantly generated as a photographer and project coordinator. This project is an attempt to develop a new language to describe and explain emerging extreme urban conditions for which no language exists in the traditional architecture.

A book (Harvard Project on the City Lagos, Taschen Verlag) will be published next year.

For further information please contact the gallery under 030 24 04 56 30 or visit our website at www.maxhetzler.com.