The Folkwang Museum‘s Photographic Collection presents the exhibition “Paul Kooiker – Fashion”. This is the first time that Kooiker’s fashion photographs will be exhibited in an institutional context. The newly acquired series of 25 photographs will enter into dialogue with works from the collections of the Photographic Collection, including Cindy Sherman, Grete Stern and Juergen Teller. The exhibition “Stopover” will be presented in parallel: it presents new works of master’s students of the photography studies program at Folkwang University of the Arts.

With his current photographs, Paul Kooiker (* 1964, Rotterdam) stands at the interface between fashion and art. Using smartphones, apps and digital post-processing, he creates idiosyncratic and internationally renowned new fashion photography in his Amsterdam studio. He publishes numerous photo series in magazines such as Vogue Italia, Dazed & Confused and AnOther. Kooiker shoots for renowned brands such as Givenchy, Rick Owens and Viktor & Rolf. Before turning to fashion photography, Kooiker worked as a photographer and university professor for more than two decades, becoming known for his surreal studio sets.

Paul Kooiker often exaggerates the shape of the body to the extreme. Using artificial body extensions, wigs and extravagant clothing as well as light, shadows and fragmentation, he creates a unique visual language whose surreal undertone is often reminiscent of icons in photography and the history of art. Social themes such as diversity, body positivity or body fetishization, which is taking hold of the fashion world, also translate directly into Kooiker’s image production. Between the queer and avant-garde creations of the designers and the nostalgically anarchic gaze of his photographs, emerges an effective power typical of Kooiker.

In dialogue with the photographs of Paul Kooiker, are presented works by Hans Bellmer, Rudolf Bonvie, Brassaï, Max Burchartz, Lotte Errell, Florence Henri, Germaine Krull, Boris Mikhailov, Lisette Model, Cindy Sherman, Grete Stern, Sasha Stone and Juergen Teller.

The Paul Kooiker’s image series was acquired with the support of the Freunde der Fotografischen Sammlung am Museum Folkwang eV

At the same time, students of the Masters program in Photographic Studies at Folkwang University of the Arts will present their current study projects in the Stopover exhibition and provide insight into the process of creating their works. For the first time, photo-theoretical positions from the tandem Studies and Research in Photography course, which focuses on the history and theory of photography, will also be presented. The student exhibition is produced in close collaboration with the Museum Folkwang.

Paul Kooiker – Fashion

Dec 3 2021 – 6 Feb. 2022

Folkwang Museum

Museumsplatz 1

45128 Essen, Germany