At first sight, the photos of Edwin Zwakman (b. 1969) seem to belong to the tradition of documentary photography. Printed in a very large format, they show houses under construction, road junctions and coastal vistas. The points of view could almost be called classic: looking downwards from a plane through the clouds, from the beach over the sea towards the horizon, from a window looking out on surrounding buildings. But appearances are deceptive: if you look more closely, you find that things do not add up. A motorway runs into the sea, an exit is on the wrong side of the road.
Everything we see in these photos has been carefully constructed in Zwakman's studio. The streets are painted cardboard, the houses are fragile models and the cars are Dinky toys. Just as the real world sometimes seems unreal, so conversely this constructed world seems real. Our childhood games, in which the grown-up world was imitated in various ways, is here perfected using adult techniques and in a consistent manner. It is day or night, it is clouded or the sun shines.
To further instigate confusion, Zwakman explores with "het gat" and "iconic target" how reconfigurations of public space can evoke a similar set of emotions: utterly recognizable on the one - by drawing upon existing codes or symbols, but totally estranging on the other hand - by editing their use. In what in a way is a photo-negative strategy, his models are copy-pasted as sculptural metaphors into real-time settings.
During his China residency, Zwakman will continue to investigate possible interactions between his studio and in-situ projects.
This residency is a collaboration between the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Architecture and Design and TIM/LAB.