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About Bidlhalle

Bildhalle, founded by Mirjam Cavegn in 2013 and one of today’s most respected galleries for photography in Switzerland, deliberately takes on the responsibility of a long-standing Swiss tradition regarding photography and its distribution as an artistic medium. Thus, it represents outstanding classic and contemporary positions with the necessary consequence. 

In October 2020, Bildhalle will run a second gallery in Amsterdam, thus consolidating its good relations in the Dutch and European markets. The gallery will show a well curated selection of Dutch and international artists – both young talents and established photographers. 

In the interplay between selected established photographers of the 20th Century and those of a younger generation that aims to keep extending the medium, Mirjam Cavegn shapes an ambitious gallery program with the objective to positively influence the reception and recognition of artistic photography through solo and group exhibitions as well as international art fair participations and publishing high quality photo books.

Exhibition ‘Terra Incognita’, 3 Sept-23 Oct

Bildhalle Amsterdam has the pleasure of presenting the first Dutch solo exhibition of Ilona Langbroek
(*1970). Langbroek is a Dutch photographer and graduated cum laude from Fotoacademie Amsterdam in
2019 with “Silent Loss”.

The series “Silent Loss” is a personal series based on her family history in the former Dutch East Indies. The Netherlands has a long history with the Dutch East Indies, which leaves all kinds of traces that are reminiscent of the vast but also complex colonial past between these two countries. In fact, her work is about the lost identity of the large number of people who were forced to leave their country after the Independence and their emotions regarding this loss which are dormant but still very much alive.

Langbroek invites the viewer to become part of this memory of the Dutch East Indies, by a metaphorical representa-
tion of memories and fantasies through poetic images. She depicts the experience of a time in a distant almost magical country and a life that no longer exists. The sharp contradiction: on one hand a mythical land full of warmth,
splendor and beauty, on the other hand violence, oppression and war. Her artwork is not just about aesthetics, but there is a deeper meaning behind the image, the story and the emotion contained within. From that point of view, Langbroek shoots purely intuitively based upon her memories of her grandmother in the past: how she looked, her accent and tone of her voice. In addition, research is an important part of her work to find inspiration. By reading books, interviewing people from previous generations and scrutinizing old photo
albums Langbroek gets closer to the life of her grandparents in the Dutch East Indies. Furthermore, her concepts are refined and elaborated in detail, in search of the right items, models, locations and clothing which are partly original antiques but were also specifically handmade based on her own ideas and designs.
In her contemporary work she has therefore chosen to express this atmosphere of nostalgia and sadness, but also
of poetry and beauty. Using a strong contrast between light and dark, the artist creates a twilight zone as a metaphor for the disappearing past. To achieve this, she uses chiaroscuro, but also the soft lighting used by painters of the17th century Dutch Golden Age, such as Vermeer, Rembrandt or the Italian painter Caravaggio.

Terra Incognita

Ilona Langbroek