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The work of Hans Eijkelboom is always about the relationship between the individual and the mass – ‘mass’ both in the sense of ‘a lot of people’, and of everything we encounter on a daily basis, and which we are part of. A world to which we must relate if we are to live in it. The way we do this and the way it appears is the essence of his work.
For Eijkelboom, photography is the collection of moments to be arranged in order at a later date. He sees the photograph as leaving the chaos and absurdity of the world intact, a frozen moment that can also become part of an ordered arrangement or collection. Eijkelboom works in the street, the constantly changing territory which connects us, and which is part of the process that forms our culture. The city fulfils an increasingly important role in this, and it seems almost impossible to escape from trends, social pressures and zeitgeist. Eijkelboom’s work is about us all: people struggling with a deep longing for individual identity, in a society that strives for conformism. It would seem to be a losing battle.
Hans Eijkelboom is a Dutch artist who works with photography. Internationally recognised, he has published more than 50 books and publications, his latest being in 2014, People of the Twenty First Century, published by Phaidon, both in English and French. Over recent years he has dealt mainly with the relationship between the individual and the masses in an increasingly globalized society. His work reflects on a society in which we, as consumers, may appear to have more freedom to buy whatever we want, but inevitably become part of a society dominated by commercial interests which aim at predictability and standardisation. His work has been shown in various solo and group exhibitions. In 2012 he exhibited at the 30th São Paulo Biennial and, in 2014, at the prestigious Rencontres d’Arles photography festival in France.
Photographed in Birmingham, The Street and Modern Life was commissioned by Multistory as part of an on-going body of photographic work that documents everyday life in the Black Country and the West Midlands. Multistory is a community arts organisation based in Sandwell in the Black Country – www.multistory.org.uk.