Apollo

Ed van der Elsken: Crazy World

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

30 Oct 2020 - 10 Jan 2021

The following information is accurate at time of publication. In light of the evolving Covid-19 situation visitors are advised to check museums’ websites for further updates.

Best known for Sweet Life (1966) – a joyful chronicle of 14 months spent travelling the world – Ed van der Elsken helped to create a newly direct form of documentary photography, emphasising and celebrating the photographer’s personal, subjective role in depicting the world around them. This show – drawn from the extensive archives recently bequeathed to the Rijksmuseum by Van der Elsken’s estate – reveals the painstaking work that went into creating this impression of naturalism. Mock-ups of photo-books, annotated contact sheets and designs for book covers are shown alongside works from Sweet Life and other series, demonstrating Elsken’s constant experimentation. Find out more from the Rijksmuseum’s website.

Preview below | View Apollo’s Art Diary here

Man and machine'. Worker at a shipyard, Burutu, from Sweet Life (1966), Ed van der Elsken.

‘Man and machine’. Worker at a shipyard, Burutu (1959); spread from a preparatory design for Sweet Life (1966), Ed van der Elsken. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; © Ed van der Elsken

Two schoolboys and a man with a daughter on his back in Japan, from Sweet Life (1966), Ed van der Elsken.

Two schoolboys and a man with a daughter on his back in Japan (1959–60); spread from a preparatory design for Sweet Life (before 1966), Ed van der Elsken. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; © Ed van der Elsken

Unspoiled primitives'; naive painter Call Black and his wife Ruby in front of their private museum in the Mojave Desert, Arizona, from Sweet Life (1966), Ed van der Elsken.

Painter Call Black and his wife Ruby in front of their private museum in the Mojave Desert, Arizona (1960); spread from a preparatory design for Sweet Life (before 1966), Ed van der Elsken. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; © Ed van der Elsken

Portrait of an old woman in Japan (1984), Ed van der Elsken. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; © Ed van der Elsken

Attendees and policeman at a concert of the Lionel Hampton Big Band in the Houtrusthallen in The Hague (1956), Ed van der Elsken.

At a concert of the Lionel Hampton Big Band in the Houtrusthallen in The Hague (1956), Ed van der Elsken. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; © Ed van der Elsken

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