“I have taken numerous photos of people peeling potatoes, doing their laundry, mowing their lawn and other daily chores. Wasn’t it time for me to enter the big bad world?” Thus, photographer and geographer Ad Nuis deciced to travel to Baku, Azerbaijan: since 2005 home of the world’s largest oil pipeline. Nuis’ Oil & Paradise ironically examines the newly acquired wealth of the former Soviet state.

Exactly one year before the project’s launch Azerbaijan, a country under strict dictatorship, organised the Eurovision Songfestival 2012. It turned out to be a unabashed display of new wealth in the country that also competed to get the football World Cup and the Olympics. Human rights are not on its agenda and only a fortunate group of people profits from the country’s exuberant wealth. However few people in the western world seem concerned about this. There is too much at stake to do so. As Nuis calls it: “It’s geopolitics on a Champions League level.”

Between 2008 and 2013 Nuis visited Baku ten times, each time for a period of about 25 days. With Oil & Paradise Nuis portrays the absurd contradictions between the lives of the nouveau riches in Baku and the ordinary citizens of Azerbaijan.

Authors

Ad Nuis (The Netherlands, 1958) graduated from the School for Photography in The Hague in 1985. He has been working as an independent photographer ever since. His photos regularly appear in newspapers and magazines, e.g. De Volkskrant, NRC, Parool, VPRO, Vrij Nederland, Communicatie andManagement Scope. In addition Nuis works on long-term projects that usually result in a publication or artist book. In the 1990s he published Alweer een Dag, De Dam, Bomenboek, 65+, De Aftrap amongst others. Around the year 2000 he switched from black-and-white photography to digital colour photography. Recent projects include De Bovenste Verdieping, Nieuwe Amsterdammers, Koningshoef.

Currently Nuis has a biweekly column in NRC Handelsblad, titled 'Returning to the past for a moment', and a weekly column in Vrij Nederland, titled  'Nuis NL'. In recent years Nuis has been writing more and more texts guiding his photography.

Platforms

© Ad Nuis
© Ad Nuis
© Ad Nuis
© Ad Nuis
© Ad Nuis
Film Still Oil & Paradise
Film Still Oil & Paradise
© Ad Nuis
The 'belt of happiness': the wall of Baku
The 'belt of happiness': the wall of Baku
© Ad Nuis
© Ad Nuis
© Ad Nuis
The opening of the Oil & Paradise exhibition at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 14, 2014.
The opening of the Oil & Paradise exhibition at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 14, 2014.
© Fred Ernst
Oil & Paradise at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 2014.
Oil & Paradise at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 2014.
© Ad Nuis
The opening of the Oil & Paradise exhibition at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 14, 2014.
The opening of the Oil & Paradise exhibition at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 14, 2014.
© Fred Ernst
Oil & Paradise at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 2014.
Oil & Paradise at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 2014.
© Ad Nuis
Oil & Paradise at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 2014.
Oil & Paradise at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 2014.
© Ad Nuis
The opening of the Oil & Paradise exhibition at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 14, 2014.
The opening of the Oil & Paradise exhibition at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 14, 2014.
© Fred Ernst
Oil & Paradise at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 2014.
Oil & Paradise at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 2014.
© Ad Nuis
Oil & Paradise at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 2014.
Oil & Paradise at Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, June 2014.
© Ad Nuis
Oil & Paradise at Fotofestival Naarden, 2013
Oil & Paradise at Fotofestival Naarden, 2013
© Ad Nuis
Oil & Paradise at ImagesSingulières, Sète, May 2015
Oil & Paradise at ImagesSingulières, Sète, May 2015
© Christophe Collas
Oil & Paradise at ImagesSingulières, Sète, May 2015
Oil & Paradise at ImagesSingulières, Sète, May 2015
© Christophe Collas
Oil & Paradise at ImagesSingulières, Sète, May 2015
Oil & Paradise at ImagesSingulières, Sète, May 2015
© Christophe Collas
Opening of Oil & Paradise at ImagesSingulières, Sète, May 2015
Opening of Oil & Paradise at ImagesSingulières, Sète, May 2015
© Christophe Collas
Oil & Paradise at ImagesSingulières, Sète, May 2015
Oil & Paradise at ImagesSingulières, Sète, May 2015
© Christophe Collas
Work in Motion at MAST Bologna, 2017 including Oil & Paradise
Work in Motion at MAST Bologna, 2017 including Oil & Paradise

Exhibition

With a video installation where photographs, videos, telephone calls, TV and radio fragments are combined, Nuis offers a sharp view of one of the most rapidly growing economics and simultaneously most corrupt countries on the periphery of Europe. The artists’s personal approach and his humorous tone makes Oil & Paradise both highly relevant and very approachable.

The installation comprises a two-screen audiovisual installation (35 min.) as well as photos, artifacts, video material on monitors, texts and information material. Oil & Paradise was previously shown at the first Beijing Photo Biennale (2013) and at the Netherlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam (2014) amongst others.

The Oil & Paradise exhibition is currently available. Please check with aw@paradox.nl for booking possibilities and pricing.
  • 25.01.201718.04.2017Part of the group show 'Work in Motion' at MAST Bologna (IT)

    13.05.201531.05.2015ImagesSingulières, Sète (FR)

    14.06.201431.08.2014Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (NL)

    23.05.201406.07.2014Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam (NL)

    14.06.201331.08.2013Fotofestival, Naarden (NL)

    24.10.201307.12.2013Beijing World Art Museum (Points on the Map), Beijing (CH)

  • Two-screen audiovisual installation, edited by Thomas Vroege (35 min.) It includes photographs, artifacts, supporting video material on 5 monitors, texts and information material.

Oil & Paradise book available as print-on-demand at Blurb.
Oil & Paradise book available as print-on-demand at Blurb.
© Ad Nuis
Spread of the publication Oil & Paradise
Spread of the publication Oil & Paradise
© Ad Nuis
Spread of the publication Oil & Paradise
Spread of the publication Oil & Paradise
© Ad Nuis
Spread of the publication Oil & Paradise
Spread of the publication Oil & Paradise
© Ad Nuis
Spread of the publication Oil & Paradise
Spread of the publication Oil & Paradise
© Ad Nuis

Book

The Oil & Paradise book is available as a Blurb print-on-demand book. Through the book, Nuis offers a sharp view of one of the most rapidly growing economics and simultaneously most corrupt countries on the periphery of Europe. And while the context of the recent tension between the global power blocks – Europe, Russia and the USA makes the Oil & Paradise a highly relevant project, the artists’s personal approach and his humorous tone make it a very approachable piece.

  • Oil & Paradise
    Year: 2014
    Texts: Ad Nuis
    Editor: Bas Vroege
    Publisher: Paradox
    Design: Alessandro Carosso, JinYoung Kim, Andrea Vendrik
    Translation: Cecily Layzell
    Language: English
    ISBN: 978-90-818876-2-5

Oil & Paradise BookApp screenshot
Oil & Paradise BookApp screenshot
Oil & Paradise BookApp screenshot
Oil & Paradise BookApp screenshot

BookApp

An iPad app and a print on demand publication are available at YdocStore. The app offers a preview of the book, as well as the opportunity to buy the digital book in its entirety.

  • App: iTunes Book App
    Updated: 24-05-2016
    Version: 2.72.0
    Size: 140 MB
    Language: English
    Development: Stichting Paradox
    © 2014 YdocFoundation

News

Show more

Events

Show more

In the media

  • Ad Nuis finds poetry in Azerbaijan.

    Rianne van Dijck, NRC Handelsblad, 26-06-2014 Read more »
  • Luminous Ad Nuis

    Quirinus Martijn, De Optimist, 25-07-2013 Read more »
  • Ad Nuis takes geopolitics to the museum.

    Elmar Veerman, VPRO, 13-06-2014 Read more »

Supported by

Related projects