Azaruja #1, 23/7/2001 11:58

by Bert Teunissen

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Artist Statement

 

"There is nothing worse than to know ones way in a house that doesn't exist anymore." — Rudy Kousbroek (1929-2010)

When one remembers a certain experience or incident, the memory can be accompanied by all the other aspects that were present at that time: the weather; the time of year or day; the temperature; and the location, with all its specific atmospheric facets like its texture, its color, its sound, its smell and, of course, its light. All the memories from my early youth—until my ninth birthday—are connected to the atmosphere of the house in which I was born. Whenever I find a place that still has this interior light I know instantly and exactly where to set up my camera to take the photograph that will illustrate the atmosphere I'm looking for—it is the same as that of the house I lost forever. Every time this happens, it feels like putting on an old coat, and every time it brings me back to my early youth and my native soil for a moment. Call it an obsession or maybe even an addiction; I don't care. To me, it is of unimaginable importance and a great pleasure.

 

Bert Teunissen

 

Bert Teunissen was born in 1959 in Ruurlo, the Netherlands. He went to Amsterdam in 1984 to work as a photographer's assistant and became an independent commercial photographer in 1987. Bert worked for all the major advertising agencies and magazines for about 10 years before he started to make personal projects.  Since 1996, he's been working on a project called Domestic Landscapes. The project is about light—natural daylight. The photos show how daylight illuminated the domestic interior, and how it dictated the way interiors were built, used and decorated. Consideration for this specific light and the atmosphere it created originated in the architecture of the pre-electricity era, when daylight was the main source of light. This kind of light started to disappear from European homes after World War II. At this moment, few of these homes remain.  The project is Bert's personal quest to document the light and atmosphere of his youth. The house in which he was born and raised was taken down by his parents when he was eight years of age. The new house was built to new standards.  The light in his photographs is the same that was used by the great Dutch masters—Vermeer, Josef Israëls and Pieter de Hoogh—in their paintings.

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