Frank van der Salm’s work from the past three decades is a statement about an urbanized world that seems to be modelled after its very own images in photography, video, movies, games, news and entertainment. It results in a strong dystopian feeling; factual, sociological or topographical references are rare. In Van der Salm’s universe, buildings and urban areas are part of one global, imaginary city.
There are no people to be found in his images. They are hidden behind the façades of this imaginary place with no fixed dimensions. A place of timeless, almost antiseptic beauty. Its occupants remain anonymous, they seem to have been cut out of the picture, playing a role behind the scenes of this ruthless urban environment, if at all.
The installation developed for N_O_W_H_E_R_E is a collaboration between Frank van der Salm and Paradox. Winy Maas, founder of MVRDV, is a consultant on the spatial development of the installation. Their radical design separates the venue in two equal spaces. One part shows – in a weekly rotating schedule – a choice of original Van der Salm works under ultimate white-cube conditions. It emphasizes the physical nature of these works; their size, their surface. The arrangements will be made by a (human) curator.
The other part feels like an open urban space, with a 20-25m long wall at its far end, showing a continuously changing projection of images by Van der Salm, while not taking their original size into account. Here the images are combined and recombined, cropped and blown up, based on an artificial intelligence algorithm, developed by AI researchers from the University of Amsterdam. Here, the computer will act as the tireless curator interpreting the oeuvre of Frank van der Salm.
Image: Frank van der Salm, Panorama, 2004.
The exhibition N_O_W_H_E_R_E will consist of an installation with 25m AI powered video wall, prints and videos by Frank van der Salm, in collaboration with Winy Maas (MVRDV) and University of Amsterdam. The exhibition will be launched at Nederlands Fotomuseum in January 2020. The exhibition will be accompagnied with a book, designed by Irma Boom and co-published by Paradox.