This summer, under the title FACES | European Portrait Photography since 1990, the Nederlands Fotomuseum will present an exhibition of work by 32 photographers and visual artists who have helped determine the renewal within European portrait photography in the past few decades. In addition to major names such as Tina Barney, Anton Corbijn, Rineke Dijkstra, Boris Mikhailov, Thomas Ruff, Juergen Teller and Stephan Vanfleteren, less renowned – although influential – photographers also make up the selection. The exhibition displays the power, wealth and diversity of modern European portrait photography and, in doing so, establishes a connection with the Renaissance tradition – the origin of the portrait genre.
FACES is the first exhibition that looks back on the interesting developments that European portrait photography has undergone since 1989. It perceives a tendency in which the focus lies on the individual – whether famous or anonymous – and his or her social and cultural identity. This artistic development has occurred against a background of extremely rapid changes within Europe as a result of globalization, migration, the advent of internet and economic unification: these are all changes that have disrupted the concept of ‘identity’ since the late eighties. The exhibition thus raises questions about identity, culture and history, as well as about the relations between the person portrayed, the spectator and the photographer.