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#25 Talent Wall

Speaking: Iris Hartman

Iris Hartman, 'Connected' from the series The Remedy, on show at the Talent Wall at Pennings Foundation

Petra Cardinaal started in 2019 with a new initiative, the Talent Wall. Every two months a young artist or photographer, graduated from an academy, is invited to fill a wall with his own presentation. Esther Hemmer was the first to present herself. She graduated from the Photo Academy in Amsterdam last year and showed work from her series ‘Yugen’. Petra had noticed her work while judging the graduation candidates.

The second who was given the opportunity to present herself on the Talent Wall is Iris Hartman (1992). She studied at the Nederlandse Academie voor Beeldcreatie in Rotterdam. In 2019 she was one of the nominees for the Harry Pennings Award. The jury, formed by Hendrik Driessen (until recently director of Museum De Pont), Ton Hendriks (editor-in-chief Pf) and Maartje van den Heuvel (curator of photography at Leiden University), designated Marwan Bassiouni as the winner. But Iris Hartman won the audience prize.

Presentation of Iris Hartman during the exhibition of the Harry Pennings Award 2019. Photo Ton Hendriks

The jury said about Iris Hartman:

“The work of Iris Hartman connects in an interesting way with a recent direction in photography, which investigates and imagines a renewed contact with landscape and nature. Although the images seem appointable, Iris Hartman manages to confuse the viewer. She does this by playing with the contrast between the plane of the print and the depth effect of the performance. The typical light is enchanting but with that light she brings something disturbing to her image. ”

During the exhibition of the Harry Pennings Award she showed work from the series The Remedy. For the Talent Wall she also chose work from this series and also work from the Moodswings series.

Even before her presentation during the Harry Pennings Award, Petra Cardinaal had seen the work of Iris. A befriended gallery owner, Karina Leduc, had drawn her attention to the work of Iris Hartman that she had seen in July 2018 at the graduation exhibition of the Nederlandse Academie voor Beeldcreatie in Rotterdam, in a building next to the Nederlands Fotomuseum. Karina Leduc knew Iris Hartman as a trainee of the Zuiderwijk/Vergouwe photography duo (Daan Zuijderwijk and Maaike Vergouwe), who exhibited during the Dutch Design Week of October 2017 in her gallery, Galerie KRL.

Gallery KRL during DDW 2017 with announcement of the exhibition of Zuiderwijk/Vergouwe

“As part of my education, but even more from my own interest, I occasionally scoured the internet to look at work by other photographers and artists. That is how I came into contact with the work of Zuijderwijk/Vergouwe. The combination between artificial light and nature with which I was photographically experimenting was reflected in their work. And while I used external flash light and / or a continuous light source to convey the right feeling in my metaphorical visual language, I also attempted to investigate the relationship between man and nature with my camera. ”

“From both thematic interfaces and shared interest in technical elaboration (intervening in the landscape with artificial light), I thought it would be nice to meet the photography duo and talk to them or interview them about the profession. I was also curious what they would recommend to me as an upcoming young photographer and it seemed educational to have them look at my portfolio (which was still being developed). I was expecting a refreshing look that could give me a different insight than the vision of my supervising teachers.”

“Apart from the fact that I wanted to talk to them about the profession, I also wanted to see if we had a click because I intended to inquire about possible internship opportunities. Soon I received a response, which stated, among other things: ‘We are currently traveling through Europe (now in Normandy) to make new work and will not be back in the Netherlands until September, for a number of exhibitions.’

Soon we spoke to each other via Skype. And this felt so good that we discussed the possible internship and how we could implement it. ‘Those questions will naturally be addressed during the internship’, Daan said. In short: the intentions were very positive from both sides and they suggested that I would join them for a while on their journey. Finally I met Daan, Maaike, the three children and the two dogs on July 29, 2017 in Cimolais, Italy and there my fantastic internship started.”

“I experimented with the combination of artificial light and nature.” Iris Hartman, Hope #1 (2015) from the series Moodswings

“So I really joined them. Prepare the images together, turn on the light and carry out the conceptual work on site. I wanted to experience the entire process, from coming up with the concept, making the plan of action, the sketches, scouting the locations, to the implementation (camera on a tripod, hanging light or moving through the landscape with lamps) and the finishing (the development of film and scanning, image processing, printing at a professional lab and framing). In addition, I helped prepare for various exhibitions."

Artist talk Iris Hartman prior to Gerco de Ruijter's lecture, on Friday December 13, 2019. Photo Hetty de Groot

After Karina Leduc had sent photos of Iris's graduation work to Petra Cardinaal, Petra contacted her. “I received an email to make an appointment. At the first contact I showed my work. The contact with Petra immediately felt good. The result is that I am now in a coaching and advice process. I learn all kinds of practical things that you cannot get at an academy. For example, how galleries work, what you can expect from a gallery, how the percentages can be calculated for the sale of work.” Recently, one afternoon a week Iris joins the team who help organize the Pennings Foundation. "A great way to see the art world from the other side."

The Talent Wall with he work of Iris Hartman. Foto Hetty de Groot

The Talent Wall

Iris graduated with the series The Remedy (2018). Previously she had made the series Moodswings (2015-2017). “Moodswings is about changing emotions, about associations and memories from the past. The images are metaphors, nature as a theater in which I try to depict metaphors. Both series have to do with her traumatic youth. As a child, she regularly fled to the forest at night, often she took the dog. "The forest meant safety, it was safer there than at home."

The forest as a safe haven. Iris Hartman, Residence (2017) from the series Moodswings

“The vague images in Moodswings symbolize flights, but also paranoia and anxiety attacks, blurring before your eyes. The calm images represent cultivated nature, where everything seems to be under control.”

“The title The Remedy refers to the fact that nature can contribute to human recovery, both physically and psychologically. That is scientifically proven and you can experience it yourself by staying in nature, but also by looking at images of nature.” The Remedy is an ode to nature, an expression of gratitude for the healing effect of nature. With this series she also shows admiration for nature. “Nature is resilient and has a self-healing capacity. A person also has a self-healing capacity."

With its bare roots, the tree symbolizes the resilience of nature. On the one hand it is vulnerable, on the other hand it is strong, because it is still there. Iris Hartman, Exposed Roots (2018) from the series The Remedy

Iris is interested in scientific and semi-scientific publications about the beneficial effects of nature. The book ‘The hidden life of trees’ by Peter Wohlleben was an important source of inspiration. In this book Wohlleben explains how trees are connected to each other through biological systems and can communicate with each other in this way.

There is a layering in the work of Iris. On the one hand her work is very personal, on the other hand the images offer enough room for the viewer to make his or her own associations and interpretations. "One experiences my images of light spots in the forest as warm, as a place where you want to be, the other associates the dark forest as frightening, a place where you don't want to be at night." So this reveals more of the viewer than of the maker and the work itself. “In my work I consciously sought the balance by allowing aesthetics. I don't want to make it too heavy."

The presentation of Iris Hartman - Talent Wall #2 is on show untill January 12 2020.

(Untill January 12 2020 Pennings Foundation will also be open on Sundays from 13:00 to 17:00)

Talent Wall #1 with the series ‘Yugen’ by Esther Hemmer. photo Hetty de Groot

About the Harry Pennings Award 2019:

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