Description

From 29 September 2020 to 28 February 2021, Museum Helmond will present the  Netherlands’  first retrospective exhibition of the work of Belgian photographer Harry Gruyaert. Gruyaert was born in Antwerp in 1941 and is considered the foremost European pioneer of colour photography. He photographs both the hustle and bustle of the streets and the quietness of coastal landscapes.

The origin of all his work is the world around us. In his choice of images, Gruyaert seems to capture the ephemeral and transient nature of this world. His photographs contain wondrous combinations of both the presence and the absence of things and people. As a result, loneliness and melancholy are themes that pervade much of his work.

Gruyaert first discovered the richness of colour in the 1970s. Until that time, colour photography had been largely reserved for advertising. In Gruyaert’s photography we see saturated colours, often with bold accents in red, green or blue. “Colour is a means, a way of sculpting what I see. Colour does not illustrate a subject or a scene, but is a value in itself”, Gruyaert once said. In addition, light and contrasts such as chiaroscuro often determine the way we experience his photographs.

Coming from the country of surrealists like René Magritte (1898-1967), Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976) and his contemporary Guillaume Bijl (1946), Gruyaert’s work often demonstrates his ability to look at the world through a surrealist lens. And just like the Belgian symbolist painter James Ensor (1860-1949), Gruyaert has a predilection for strong and somewhat unusual visual motifs. Ensor, for example, used masks, characters in fancy dress costumes, skeletons and grotesque parades; Gruyaert uses robes, headdresses, concealing clothing, parades (also), balloons, and people waiting.

‘Harry Gruyaert – Retrospective’ will feature more than 120 photographic works, and   includes the various series he made in Las Vegas, Russia, Morocco, India and of course Belgium. The exhibition will also display a wide selection of ‘Rivages’, his acclaimed series dedicated to coastal landscapes. 

Location

Museum Helmond
F.J. van Thielpark 7
5707 BX Helmond
Netherlands

Get directions

Get Magnum news and updates directly to your inbox

Stay in touch
Stay up to date every Thursday with Magnum photographers’ activities, new work, stories published on the Magnum website, and the latest offerings from our shop.
Be the first to know about recent Magnum Shop drops. From new books and limited editions, to special offers, you can find it all on the weekly Magnum Shop newsletter.
Get fortnightly tips and advice articles, find out about the latest workshops, free online events and on-demand courses.
Learn about online and offline exhibitions, photography fairs, gallery events, plus fine print news and activities, on a monthly basis.
Know when our quarterly 7-day square print sale is coming.
Monthly updates on the latest assignments, photographer projects and collaborations with brands.