If you love photography then you will love UNSEEN, as Roderick van der Lee explains

If you love photography then you will love UNSEEN, as Roderick van der Lee explains

Apr 2, 2012 |  by  |  Art, Event
About the author
Independent Creative | Writer at Overdose.am | Entrepreneur | Painter | Founder at Artists Not Armies | For feedback, tips, suggestions mail me at alexander@overdose.am

Meet Roderick van der Lee, one of the founders of UNSEEN, Amsterdam’s newest art air for photography aimed at art buyers and enthusiasts from all over the world. Make sure to check out UNSEEN this coming September, taking place at the Westergas area. It will prove to be spectacular with music, parties and great photography.

Could you tell us about yourself and how Platform A came about?
“I am currently the director of Platform A. Before this I’ve worked at Christies, Droog and FOAM. All three truly remarkable institutions and working there has been absolutely spectacular and invaluable as far as experience goes. But the call of the wild is too strong for me. I love building things up. Business wise, I love being able to go on my intuition and instincts without having to answer to anyone. I’m very lucky with my partner at Platform A, Frits Zanen, who trusts my instincts and experience. Together we founded Platform A to explore cultural business development and new forms for old values such a ‘the gallery’, ‘the art consultancy’ or ‘the art fair’. Our latest project is UNSEEN, a new photography fair in Amsterdam launching this September, which is a joint project of Platform A, FOAM and Vandejong.

Maybe it’s all simpler than this. Maybe it’s just because photography is fucking cool

How did, in your opinion, photography become such a hit in the last few years?
“One of my theories is that the importance of figurative techniques has been disappearing from art academies and thus art. It’s a lot of abstract and conceptual thinking nowadays, a legacy of the 20th century. I think people are longing for a certain pathos and atmosphere and photography is a perfect medium to provide this. But maybe it’s all simpler than this. Maybe it’s just because photography is fucking cool.”

How would you define a good photo? Is subject more important than composition?
“It depends. Sometimes a perfect composition in itself is sublime, regardless of the subject. Sometimes the subject is so powerful that it transcends itself, like for instance news photos of suffering that tap into our universal humanity and become iconic images against human suffering rather than a document of a certain time and place. Usually composition is secondary in such images. They’re both important in their own way. There are all sorts of technical qualifications, but for me a good photo is a photo that transports me somewhere when I look at it, when the world around me ceases to exist for a little while.”

About UNSEEN: why this name and what does it strive for? Tell us about the objectives of this fair.
“We’ve invited very established galleries from all over the world, but we’ve asked them to show new talent or new work by established photographers. We want the fair to be about the new and not about the proven. The fair has never been about creating a fair for Amsterdam, rather about creating a place in the world where the excitement of the new and experiment in photography is celebrated. Amsterdam just happens to be a perfect spot for this. It’s going to be a fair with a festival flair. The galleries and the photographers are the heart of UNSEEN, but there will be a rich side program of exhibitions, lectures, a photography book fair, film programming and after parties.”

I’m still in love with every piece I’ve bought

Why should we visit and please tell us about the joy of buying art.
“If you love photography, you’ll definitely love UNSEEN, that’s for sure. And as for the joy of buying art: there are little more satisfying and enduring acquisitions than when you are stopped in your tracks by a piece of art, when you feel a little shock going through your system when you look at it and know you can never be happy again unless you own it. I am still in love with every piece I’ve bought. The pleasure remains long after the price has been forgotten. And prices don’t even have to hurt. At UNSEEN prices start at a few hundred Euros.”


When: September 19-23
Where: Westergasterrein Amsterdam
Website: UNSEEN

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