Arjan de Nooy

Arjan de Nooy (Goes, 1965) studied chemistry and photography. The artist is mainly known for his book-making and museum shows, often together with Anne Geene. Together they made several award-winning books like Ornithology and The Universal Photographer which resulted in a museum exhibition at Kunstmuseum Den Haag. Arjan de Nooy works both with his own photographs as well as with found material. The stories he constructs give the photographs an artificial context and therefore give them their meanings. An ongoing project is a fictional history of Dutch photography, in which both oeuvres and biographies of fictional photographers are presented as contemplative texts. Parts of this project can be found on and in the publications De facto (2009), Haarscherp (2012) and Party Photographer (2014).

Photology is a body of work based on the eponymous book (soon to be published). The title Photology is a merging of photography and logic (of game playing), but of course ‘-logy’ also refers to the study of photography. This work aims to be a photographic overview with new series and alternative theories based on the history and theory of the medium. All work exists of found footage, re-photographed photos, postcards and other appropriated material. By giving this another context, a new meaning — always related to photography itself — is created in de Nooy’s work. Various collages taken from the project will be shown for the first time At UNSEEN 2022.

The Universal Photographer 
A monograph about the universal photographer U. made in collaboration with Anne Geene. This monograph offers an introduction to the life, work and opinions of the universal photographer U. (1955 – 2016), a man who produced more pictures of more different subjects in more different styles than any other photographer to date. In U., numerous features of other photographers, philosophers, scientists and collectors can be recognized, but closest to his character may well be the protagonists of Flaubert’s novel Bouvard and Pécuchet. Like them, U. had a tendency to copy, collect, combine and study, and, like them, he lacked common sense. Besides being a monograph of U., The Universal Photographer reflects Geene & De Nooy’s view on the art of photography, characterised by relativism and even absurdism, but most of all it is a celebration of photography.

A book about Science-Birds-Photography, in collaboration with Anne Geene. This book won the Golden Letter for ‘Best Book Design from all over the World’. Ornithology refers to the scientific study of birds, including their physiology, classification, ecology, and behaviour. Due to their visibility and often colourful appearance, birds are a popular object in both science and the visual arts – photography in particular. With their pseudo-scientific approach, hunter-collectors Geene and De Nooy defy the borders between these disciplines. Their classification of bird pictures exhibits the humorous outcome of creative and associative thinking.

Geene and De Nooy manifest themselves as rare birds in the world of bird photography, dominated as it is, by people with the ‘classic’ aesthetic view. Many of the subjects they shot are dead, but some are representations. Some appear as building materials, some merely as their droppings. Ornithology may be seen both as a photographer’s study of birds and as an ornithologist’s photographic research.

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