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#10 From the archive

Handmade booklet by Viviane Sassen in 1998

In 1998, Rik Suermondt interviewed Harry Pennings on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Galerie Pennings. The text gives a good idea of ​​what Harry intended. A beautiful characteristic of time. Hence a ‘reprise’.


The interview appeared in De Fotograaf (no. 4) 1998, pp. 19-21.





Galerie Pennings: a close eye on photography for 20 years (part 2)

(for part 1 see blog #9)


Can you tell me what kind of audience came to the gallery in 1979, and how it is now?


"In the early days it was very unclear to discover a profile in it. The audience mainly consisted of visitors to the design store. People who buy a Le Corbusier chair generally have a broad cultural interest. And that mixed with an audience from the photo clubs and to a more limited extent from the visual arts. Now it is primarily people who are interested in photography from the perspective of the visual arts. In fact, that is a rapid development.


"For example, when I look at the last Documenta in Kassel where curator Catherine David has integrated photography in an autonomous way in architecture, literature, film and visual arts, I even have the idea that the museums are gradually opening their eyes. Even in the Netherlands. There, it was always said that people wanted to show photography, but only from the perspective of visual arts and without looking up the photography circuit. I think that is nonsense. Because if they don't do research in the photography circuit, they will never meet the people who work from the medium itself. And I find it interesting to change that point of view from my gallery, and to show those museums that photography is a discipline with its own history and its own theory.

It is also very necessary because within the Dutch museums people always stick to the same names: Bernd and Hilla Becher, John Baldesarri, Richard Long and Hamish Fulton: all of them people who make photography from the visual arts. Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth and Andreas Gurski - the students of the Bechers - are also shown en masse; from the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam to the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven. As if nothing else happens!"


Catalog Foto Manifestatie Eindhoven 1998

Photo Manifestation Eindhoven

As a board member, Harry Pennings is closely involved in the organization of the Photo Manifestation Eindhoven, which was held for the third time this spring with the theme 'A world imagined'. (See blog #6)


How does Eindhoven distinguish itself from all other festivals in the Netherlands and Europe?


"Our goal is to organize an exhibition every four years, but that period was too long, so that in the intervening period we now hold an interim manifestation, which is a bit smaller. So the rhythm is two years, four years and again two years. But the answer to your question is still quite clear: there are already so many festivals that do the same, they overlap considerably. And of course you have to pay tribute to the 'Rencontres de la Photographie' in Arles, the first photo festival that started 27 years ago. They set out a very clear line, which eventually almost resulted in a down fall. Since three years they have been developing a new identity in Arles, and with success." (See blog #1)


“The biggest change is that a different artistic director is now appointed for each episode, making the choice much more explicit and showing more unity. In 1997 it was the Catalan artist / photographer Juan Foncuberta, who went in s