curated by Paul Kooiker

Galerie Ron Mandos is proud to present the special collaborative exhibition Jan ♥ Boris with works by Jan Hoek and Diary by Boris Mikhailov, curated by Paul Kooiker. The top ten photographs shot between 2011 and 2016 by Hoek, as chosen by Kooiker, will be shown alongside a selection of photos from Mikhailov’s captivating books Diary and Look at Me I Look at Water; presenting a glimpse into the artist’s personal view on his complete oeuvre.

  • You are invited to the opening of this exhibition on Saturday, January 21 from 5 – 7 pm. Opening by Kim Knoppers (curator, Foam) 
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The exhibition features social observational photography from two major artists, whose combined works span decades, nations and communities. The connection made with the photographed subjects is of utmost importance in the work that both Hoek and Mikhailov produce, and the trust between the subject and the artist is vital in this process. Without the establishment of trust, these works could never come into existence. 

Although both artists have been known to push the ethical boundaries of photography, they are able to depict aspects of life and society with a rare rawness that is often touching, humorous and uninhibited all at once. 

Jan Hoek was born in the Netherlands in 1984, and completed his studies in Image and Language at the Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam. He was motivated by his mentor Kooiker to delve into photography. His inspiration during his studies, and in fact one of the subjects of his dissertation was Boris Mikhailov. Hoek pushes the boundaries of conventional ethics surrounding photography, and captures groups or individuals who are disenfranchised from their communities. These models, with whom he creates a personal bond, are taken out of the context of their regular existence, and juxtaposed in an entirely opposing setting. These range from series depicting the former heroin addict Kim, who dreams of being a top model, to the men in Nairobi who make a living by tricking Western reporters into believing they are real Somali Pirates although they have never even set eyes on the ocean. 

Boris Mikhailov was born in Ukraine, in the former Soviet Union, in 1938. Today he is hailed as one of the most prominent artists to have emerged from the former USSR, however for years he was only able to take pictures in secret and at great risk, under the vigilant eye of the KGB. His thought-provoking and at times confrontational photographs document those on the fringes of society in post-communist Eastern Europe. His work is deeply rooted in a historical context, though he often presents raw, real-life scenarios from daily life. A major theme throughout his work has been to photograph the homeless and other impoverished men, women and children, whose hardships grew out of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mikhailov documents the harsh reality and helplessness of the homeless in Ukraine, who find themselves in this devastating position as a result of the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Jan Hoek is one of the artists Galerie Ron Mandos discovered for the annual exhibition Best of Graduates in 2012. He has had solo shows in various museums and at art fairs around the world, including Stedelijk Museum Schiedam (2016), FOAM Amsterdam (2013 and 2016), FOMU Antwerp (2016), Panorama Carland, Unseen Photo Festival Amsterdam (2015), New Holland, St. Petersburg (2013), and at Contemporary Istanbul (2012). His work has been included in group shows at Berlin Art Week (2016), Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam (2016), Volkskrant Beeldende Kunstprijs, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam (2016), Fotomuseum Rotterdam (2016), Lagos Photo (2013 and 2014), and He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China (2014). In addition to his nomination for the Volkskrant Beeldende Kunstprijs (2016), he was the winner of the Charlotte Kohler-price (2015), by Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds and was nominated for the Paul Huf Award (2015). 

Boris Mikhailov’s works have been exhibited in museums, galleries and institutions across the globe. He has had solo shows in, amongst others, Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv (2014) , MoMa, New York, NY (2011), La criee centre d’art contemporain, Rennes  (2012), Sprengel Museum, Hannover, (2011), Kunsthalle Wien (2010), at Moscow Contemporary Art Center, (2008), Shugoarts, Tokyo (2006), Centre de la Photographie, Geneva (2005), Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona, Spain (2004) Institute of Contemporary Art,Boston, USA (2004) , Institut de Cultura Barcelona (2004), The Photographic Museum, Helsinki (2011), Saatchi Gallery, London (2011), The Photographers` Gallery, London (2000), Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, France (1999), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1998), The Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (1995), and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, (1990). His works have been included in group shows at Saatchi Gallery, London (2012), Tate Modern, London, UK (2011), Biennale di Venezia, Ukrainian Pavilion, Venice, Italy (2007),  Barbican Art Gallery, London (2006), Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2006), Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2004), Barbican Gallery, London (2003), Tate Modern, London (2003) Museum of Modern Art, New York (2001), The Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize (2001), and The Photographer's Gallery, London (2001).


ABOUT Jan Hoek

Jan Hoek (1984) is a writer as well. In addition to his own indepedant work as an artist, he writes for magazines and newspapers about his own work, the work of others, photography in general and subjects related to his own work.

Jan Hoek has photographed amateur models, mentally ill homeless people in Africa, a girl with no arms and legs, a heroin addict who dreams of being a model, or people he has simply found in advertisements on the internet. The photo shoot is never what he expected, model and photographer always have different expectations. The model actually wants sex while Jan Hoek wants to shoot the dog. The model tries to be as glamorous as possible, while Jan wants to picture the decay. Photographing is not just about the image but also the relationship between the photographer and the model. How far can you go with your models? In the accompanying film, Me & My Models, Jan talks about the nasty, funny, painful or touching things that happen around photographing people.

“I believe there is always a certain degree of ethics involved in photography. It is almost impossible to take photographs of people without consciously, or unconsciously, crossing boundaries and with things happening that you don’t want or expect. I feel this is often covered up in photography, while I would like to show it … ”