Benrubi Gallery is proud to present Unwired, the latest solo exhibition from internationally acclaimed photographer Jacqueline Hassink. Unwired was born from Hassink’s desire to find places that offer neither cell phone reception nor wifi capability. The result is a series of arresting landscapes and interiors which stand in deliberate contrast to iPortrait (on view in the project room), featuring photographs of public transportation users in Shanghai, Moscow, New York, Tokyo, Seoul, Paris and London.
For the photographs in Unwired, Hassink traveled to six locations globally as far afield as Yakushima, an island in the extreme south of Japan, and Svalbard, a Norwegian island near the Polar Circle. The landscapes are an intense study in blues and greens, by turns vivid and subdued, and shifting perspectives and horizon lines, some immeasurably vast, others foreshortened by curtains of vegetation. The contrasts make the viewer acutely conscious both of his or her body and its relationship to space. If the immediate effect is isolating, it gradually relaxes into the sense of being part of a different kind of network, global in the most literal sense of being “of the earth.” This feeling carries over into the exhibition’s two interiors, both of which emphasize the viewer’s perspective and the experience of looking, as well as the natural processes of decay and dilapidation. The message is clear: the things people make can be beautiful and useful, but they’re temporary. On the one hand, this reflects an awareness mono no aware, the Japanese aesthetic of the awareness of impermanence, but when we relate it back to the threatened environments in the landscapes we see a more pointed critique of an industrialized society.
This sense is only heightened by iPortrait, itself shot on several iPhones, that features images of subway riders using their smartphones. The environments are crowded but the photographs communicate the isolation of people lost inside their screens. In contrast to the feeling of connectivity that smart phone and communications companies relentlessly sell us, we see a series of individual cut off both from their immediate surroundings and, as suggested by the vast urban areas these means of transportation cover, the places they live as well. People interact not with their world but an idea of it, and in so doing may lose themselves as well.
Jacqueline Hassink (b. 1966, Netherlands) Hassink’s work has been widely collected and exhibited, including shows at Huis Marseille in Amsterdam; Fotomuseum Winterthur; ICP in New York and the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum for Photography; The Photographers’ Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Saatchi Gallery in London; the Guangzhou Museum of Modern Art, Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain (France) and recently at the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam. It has also appeared in such publications as The Financial Times, Le Monde, The New York Times, The New Yorker, El Pais, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Süddeutsche Zeitung, De Standaard, NZZ, Newsweek, Fortune, and Wired. She is the winner of the Rencontres d'Arles 2002 Unlimited Award and the Dutch Doc Award 2013. She was shortlisted for Prix Pictet 2012, one of the most prestigious photography prizes in the world. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the Henri Cartier Bresson Award. In 2017 she won the Dutch Design Award for the app White Spots that was developed by Richard Vijgen in collaboration with Bregtje van der Haak. This year her book Unwired is shortlisted for the PHotoESPAÑA 2018 Best Photography Book of the Year Award.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a book Unwired. The book is designed by Irma Boom and published by Hatje Cantz.