Bertien van Manen
A hundred summers, a hundred winters
“Through her excellent photographs and her inquiring and humanistic temperament, and with powerful artistic expression, Bertien van Manen shows what historians, writers, sociologists and political scientists argue, that there exist at least two Russias. There is the official, imperial and external Russia, known to us from newspaper headlines, and the one within, the hidden, poor Russia of the anonymous, ordinary people of whose existence Bertien van Manen’s moving and revealing album tells.”
Ryszard Kapuscinski on A Hundred summers, a hundred winters
About Bertien Van Manen
Born in 1942 in The Hague, The Netherlands, Bertien van Manen lives and works in Amsterdam.
Bertien van Manen started her career as a fashion photographer, but Robert Frank’s photo book The Americans(1958) inspired her to concentrate on her own projects, taking a spontaneous, unforced approach. She made lengthy, repeated trips to the Appalachians in the US, the former Soviet Union and China. The collection of the Stedelijk Museum holds over 80 photos from various projects, including the generous donation that Van Manen made in 2013 from her series Lets Sit Down Before We Go, Give Me Your Imageand Vrouwen te Gast.
Van Manen’s work is rooted in classic (social) photo reportage in serious of straightforward black and white which, up until the 1980s, was an important genre. Gradually, she evolved a personal, poetic form of colour photography that reveals her enduring, highly personal relationships with her subjects. The common thread running through the exhibition is the various series that Van Manen has produced since the 1970s, from her autobiographical work and the first series in Budapest in the 1970s, the black and white series about female migrant workers and nuns in the 1980s, the stories about Russian and Chinese people coping with changes in society in the 1990s, her series documenting other people’s family photos at the start of this century, to the sensitive (landscape) photos taken after losing her husband in 2010.
Her most recent monograph, Beyond Maps and Atlases, was published by MACK in 2016. She has released seven previous monographs includingA hundred summers, a hundred winters (1994); East Wind West Wind(2004); Give Me Your Image(2005); and Let’s sit down before we go (2011), among others. Van Manen’s work has been exhibited internationally at museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Fotomuseum Winterthur; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Photographer’s Gallery, London; and the Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo. Her work is held in the permanent collections of several major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.