Photographer Jan Stel
exhibits in Museum aan het Vrijthof

‘Manmade / no human’
22 June – 15 September 2019

Museum aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht presents a retrospective exhibition of Dutch fine art photographer Jan Stel from 22 June until 15 September 2019. The exhibition ‘Manmade / no human’ comprises 75 photographic artworks of abandoned buildings with characteristic architecture; locations that were once bustling with life and activity. The photographer impressively demonstrates the beauty of decay.

Jan Stel explores and photographs desolate places of our time. A forgotten world from which the human presence has disappeared. Over the past twenty years he has photographed numerous locations at home and abroad, including an old gas tank, steel plant, cooling tower, power station, wine cathedral, casino and stately mansions. The ten cabinets and period rooms of the monumental museum form an ideal décor for the exhibition.

The artist has a great fascination for the aesthetics of past glory. It is the essence of his photographic work. The history of precious, authentic buildings, the absence of people and lost craftsmanship play a prominent role. The past left behind is photographed with pure, natural light, without flash or studio lights.

The intriguing photographs reflect the philosophical vision of Jan Stel where the input of people and society can be clearly felt. After all, abandoned buildings are slowly decaying and can disappear, are taken over by nature or are given a new destination with a future perspective. A process that has taken place or is ongoing.

Jan Stel (Purmerend, 1970) started drawing and illustrating at a young age. He also pioneered with graffiti murals. Around 1998, as an autodidact, he became interested in faded glory and the capturing of this through photography. His autonomous work has been internationally awarded and included in the collections of companies and private collectors. Eduard Planting Gallery presents the photographer at art fairs such as KunstRAI and PAN Amsterdam. Museum aan het Vrijthof also shows work that has never been shown before.

Jan Stel - Steel Giant 03

Jan Stel - Le Gazomètre 05

Jan Stel - Desolate Casino 04

Jan Stel - Chambre du Commerce 01

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