Look At Me is the expressive, poetic portrait of a group of young people living in the margin of urban consumer culture. In cinematographic and suggestive images shot mostly at night, Monica Nouwens follows them at parties, during performances – solitary or loving each other. Nouwens’ images are not records of specific moments in time, she rather is the chronicler of an attitude, of a romantic rejection of mainstream social life.

With her project, Nouwens dedicated herself to portraying the ambivalent appeal of one of the world’s largest cities. For Look At Me, she focuses on underground youth, LA bohemia so to speak, a subculture of people who seem to have withdrawn from the dominant consumer culture, shaping a more personal, small-scale alternative.

The photographs can be seen as collaborations with these individuals, depicting their get-togethers, activities and parties, sharing their social dreams. Her images of this community living in a post-Bush America in turmoil show the need for a poetic alternative. Nouwens’ images are magical, mysterious, even sexy, all at once. Ultimately, her work condenses a mixture of roughness, sensuality and ephemeral, emotional moments into a fragile but timeless image of beauty and the human condition.

 

Authors


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Monica Nouwens (1964) completed a postgraduate fellowship at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam and ultimately attended the California Institute of the Arts exchange programme for film and photography, where she developed a fascination with California's urban landscapes. Nouwens' work can be found in various collections worldwide. Amongst them are Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Levi's in London and Prada U.S.A. Corp in New York. Nouwens is a lecturer at the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

Platforms

Ballerina Black
Ballerina Black
© Monica Nouwens
Kyle
Kyle
© Monica Nouwens
Andrew
Andrew
© Monica Nouwens
Tessa
Tessa
© Monica Nouwens
Tomatoes
Tomatoes
© Monica Nouwens
Tomatoes
Tomatoes
© Monica Nouwens
DeAnne, from the series Look at me and tell me if you have known me before (2010). Nouwens portrayed the subcultures in L.A.
DeAnne, from the series Look at me and tell me if you have known me before (2010). Nouwens portrayed the subcultures in L.A.
© Monica Nouwens
Isaac
Isaac
© Monica Nouwens
Angelino Heights
Angelino Heights
© Monica Nouwens
Pete
Pete
© Monica Nouwens
Annie
Annie
© Monica Nouwens
Ossian
Ossian
© Monica Nouwens
Rich
Rich
© Monica Nouwens
Vibeke
Vibeke
© Monica Nouwens
Jefferson
Jefferson
© Monica Nouwens
City of Industry
City of Industry
© Monica Nouwens
Look At Me at FOAM, Amsterdam, May to July 2913.
Look At Me at FOAM, Amsterdam, May to July 2913.
Look At Me at FOAM, Amsterdam, May to July 2913.
Look At Me at FOAM, Amsterdam, May to July 2913.
Look At Me at FOAM, Amsterdam, May to July 2913.
Look At Me at FOAM, Amsterdam, May to July 2913.
Look At Me at FOAM, Amsterdam, May to July 2913.
Look At Me at FOAM, Amsterdam, May to July 2913.
Look At Me at FOAM, Amsterdam, May to July 2913.
Look At Me at FOAM, Amsterdam, May to July 2913.
Look At Me at FOAM, Amsterdam, May to July 2913.
Look At Me at FOAM, Amsterdam, May to July 2913.

Exhibition

Look At Me And Tell Me If You Have Known Me Before is a multimedia installation, edited and curated by Frank Ortmanns in close collaboration with Monica Nouwens and with a soundscape by Wart Wamsteker. The exhibition also features a selection of prints from the project.

It was exhibited at FOAM, Amsterdam, from May to July 2013.

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