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Introduction

Hans Wilschut

Hans Wilschut’s work originates from the urban world. His photographs are lyric reflections on the increasingly built-up surroundings. An underlying social theme can often be found in his photographic work.

A strong example is his work ‘Landmark’ in which we see a city photographed from above. The building in the centre of the photograph has partially collapsed in the wake of a severe rainstorm three years prior. The consciously chosen fading light and careful composition testify that this photograph, which actually strives to be a perfect architecture photograph, illustrates the failure of a civil system. This is not an advertisement for new architecture; instead, it captures the economic malaise. Consequently, the artist seems to appreciate the building as a symbol of reverse urbanisation for the impossibility of its continued existence.

Although photographers often develop a subject in series, Hans Wilschut has mostly avoided this to a great extend. His photographs are unique images which exist in their own right- in this sense they are related to paintings.
Wilschut searches the boundaries between public and private domain at the frayed edges of cities for places where changes merge and manifest. Using a personal approach, he attempts to highlight themes including socio-cultural metamorphoses, the increase in tourism, the shift in world economies and demographic growth in portraits that stand alone. Wilschut translates the language of aesthetics, incorporating it in an underlying layer and challenging viewers to look and sharpen their gaze. His images do not criticize; instead, more than anything they show what only the photographic eye can see. Very clear and highly detailed photographs in huge formats entice viewers while at the same time presenting them with a riddle: what exactly are we looking at here?

His work ‘Rock’ portrays this type of incredible world. But it is the trickery in perspective that causes viewers to doubt the plausibility of the world illustrated. The flat effect of the hastily stacked visual elements in this work would seem to indicate signs of digital editing, but no. The source of this deception is the sheer massiveness of this pseudo-rock in its monotone surroundings and the way in which it is portrayed.

Hans Wilschut sees the photographic study as a dialogue with the city. He purposely seeks out situations that he effectively designs. In many cases, he makes sketches prior to picking up the camera. His images should be regarded as urban still lives. Sometimes it seems that wilschut’s vision is built on reality, as if it was achieved on a digital table top. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Like an urban explorer, Hans Wilschut travels these urban landscapes, where his exploration usually leads him to places hidden from view.