Hendrik Kerstens & Erwin Olaf


17 February 2017, 12:00 AM — 17 March 2017, 12:00 AM

The Consulate General of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Sydney is proud to present Dutch Masters of Light, an exhibition which brings the famous Dutch light to life through contemporary portraits. Inspired by the great Renaissance tradition of manipulating light and shade, Dutch Masters of Light reinterprets the style of celebrated Dutch artists including Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer in a striking series of portraits by contemporary photographers, Hendrik Kerstens and Erwin Olaf.

This exhibition is part of a series of events which mark the 400th anniversary of the first Dutch contact with Western Australia. On 25 October 1616, Dirk Hartog made landfall with his ship the Eendracht at Dirk Hartog Island, in the Shark Bay area.

About the Photographers

Erwin Olaf has had numerous important group and solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally, including George Eastman House, Rochester, USA; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; Chelsea Art Museum, New York; Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem; Kunsthalle, Winterthur, Switzerland and the Museum of the City of New York, New York.

Olaf's visually sophisticated and conceptually provocative style has been embraced by both the editorial and advertising world. In 2010 Louis Vuitton commissioned Olaf for a portrait series in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. In 2012 Olaf shot the campaign for luxury fashion brand Bottega Veneta. In 2013, Erwin Olaf's design for the new national side of the Dutch euro coins was selected from 12 designs by competing artists.

Hendrik Kerstens’ photographs were created from the desire to capture the relationship between every day scenes and events, projected against the images of Dutch painters of the seventeenth century. He extensively uses his daughter Paula in his images and the portraits are clearly reminiscent of Johannes Vermeer. The austerity of the photographs, its clarity and the characteristic ‘Dutch’ light all combine to create this impression. Kerstens creates a conceptual and humorous dialog between past and present.

Hendrik Kerstens earned a Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize in 2008 from the National Portrait Gallery in London. He also has had numerous important group and solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally, including the Danziger Gallery in Germany 2013, and galleries in Amsterdam, London, New York and Los Angeles. His photographs are included in the collection of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Erasmus University Rotterdam and in several well-known private collections.