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Paradox Newsletter September

New exhibition FACE TO FACE at Nationaal Archief

From 14 September until 6 January, Paradox and Nationaal Archief (NA) present FACE TO FACE. The exhibition highlights almost 90 portraits from the Dutch national archives in thought-provoking combinations, paired with podcasts by Wilfried de Jong, Onias Landveld and AudioCollectief SCHIK.

What do White House intern Monica Lewinsky and dancer Mata Hari have in common? What is novelist Harry Mulisch doing alongside Fidel Castro? And Bep van Klaveren and Regilio Tuur: both boxers, both Dutch, separated by time… but what other layers does their juxtaposition reveal? The way we look at history is always shaded by our own background. With every narrative, we have to ask: What are we looking at? Whose story is being told? And from whose perspective has that story been recorded?

The photography collection of the National Archives of the Netherlands contains a trove of stories. FACE TO FACE tells some of those stories, by pairing portraits that, together, reveal a third image: a new story told from the subject’s perspective. We see parallels and contrasts between individuals who may not have shared time and space, but do share a history. Often, the combination of two portraits throws a different light on the subjects. Society and the way we look at it is always in flux, and this too leads to new interpretations and shifting views on the significance of people and events.

FACE TO FACE showcases a unique selection from the Netherlands’ largest photography collection, with portraits from both unknown sources and by leading photographers including Eddie Adams, Cecil Beaton, Gilles Caron, Ed van der Elsken, Yousuf Karsh, Erwin Olaf, Sanne Sannes and Lord Snowdon. The portraits are presented alongside letters, historical documents, books, magazine articles and additional pictures, and paired with podcasts: storytellers Wilfried de Jong, Onias Landveld, Nele Eeckhout, Mirke Kist and Siona Houthuys offer their own interpretations of the histories surrounding these portraits, drawing on their particular backgrounds to put a different slant on the meaning of the images, based sometimes on facts and sometimes on speculative conjectures.

Coinciding with the exhibition opening, a series of visual podcasts will be launched.

FACE TO FACE is curated by Elwin Hendrikse (collection curator, National Archives) and Bas Vroege (founder and director of Paradox), assisted by Susanne van der Wolf (NA) and designed by Kummer & Herrman.

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BITTER Chocolate Stories at Tropenmuseum

On 20 September, BITTER Chocolate Stories will open at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. Developed by Paradox in collaboration with photographer Joana Choumali, journalist Marijn Heemskerk and Tony’s Chocolonely BITTER shows ‘the other side’ of the international chocolate industry.

We associate chocolate with celebration, comfort, romance. But do we ever associate it with the farmers, and often children, who literally make the product possible? West Africa produces almost three quarters of the world’s cocoa, 70% of which is consumed in Europe and North America. More than 2 million child labourers work on cocoa plantations in Ghana and the Ivory Coast alone. Who are these children and why do they do this work?

BITTER Chocolate Stories sheds light on these questions. Combining portraits (by Choumali) of 15 former child labourers and interviews (by Heemskerk) with the children and other actors in the industry, the exhibition and book provide an insight into the complexities of a product many of us take for granted.

The book, exhibition and outdoor campaign are designed by Kummer & Herrman and won an award from the Dutch association of art directors, ADCN. The installation will be on show at the Tropenmuseum until early next year and will thereafter travel to the Afrika Museum in Berg en Dal.

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Paradox at Unseen

Now in its seventh edition, Unseen Amsterdam (20-23 September) showcases emerging talent and new developments in photography. With great joy Paradox once again participates in the Unseen Book Market, bringing you recent publications including Hans van der Meer’s Time to Change and Joana Choumali’s BITTER Chocolate Stories.

If you’re interested in meeting the photographers and the Paradox team visit our book stand or drop us a line at

On Thursday 20 September, we’re inviting our international relations for a guided tour to Hans van der Meer’s exhibition at Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar and BITTER Chocolate Stories at Tropenmuseum (transport included, RSVP required).

On Saturday 22 September, Impact Journey kindly offered to host NOOR and Paradox in their new exhibition space at Keizersgracht 166. Join us during the Unseen Open Gallery Night for a special presentation of 48 Stories – Mapping the Palestinian Diaspora.

We look forward to seeing you at Unseen!

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Visit Paradox projects during Unseen

10 am - c. 14 pm

Paradox invites its international relations for a guided visit to BITTER Chocolate Stories at Tropenmuseum and Hans van der Meer's De koe, het grazen voorbij at Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar.

Car service included: meeting at Tropenmuseum and drop off at Unseen (Westergasfabriek).


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Unseen Open Gallery Night


Paradox and NOOR present 48 Stories - Mapping the Palestinian Diaspora at Impact Journey (Keizersgracht 166, Amsterdam)

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Curator talk Bas Vroege


Nationaal Archief, The Hague

Check out the public programme for FACE TO FACE:

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Fotogasten met Hans van der Meer


LantarenVenster, Rotterdam

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FACE TO FACE visual podcasts

New group show with Hans van der Meer and Andrea Stultiens at Nederlands Fotomuseum