Herlinde Koelbl

Oct. 4, 2008 – Jan. 25, 2009 Deze tentoonstelling is afgelopen
Hair on the head and down below, on arms and legs, everybody has it. From our birth to our death our hair is both inseparably and intimately connected to us. We have either plenty or little of it, it may be long or short, curly or straight and changes as we grow older. Hair plays a key role in determining who we are and how we are seen by others.

During a period of six years photographer Herlinde Koelbl looked for people with extraordinary hair-do's. In HAIR she shows the fascinating world of hair, from incontrollable hair to braided works of art and from ornamental beards to pubic hair.  

The Magic of Hair

In numerous myths, sagas, fairy tales and religious stories hair is attributed connotations of temptation, sensuality and strength.
Hair also plays an important role in art: from Roman busts with natural locks to the idealized paintings from the Renaissance like The birth of Venus from Boticelli; from the rather shocking pubic hair shown in The Origin of the World by Courbet to the eyebrows of Frida Kahlo.

It stresses the emotional attachment we have with our hair. Moreover, hair also determines social esteem. Fashion and styling - from the bob in the twenties to the punk hair-do's from the eighties and hair extensions from not too long ago - are constantly subject to change and determine more or less the way in which we choose to live our lives.
Hara Krishna, Orthodox Jews, Muslim women and youngsters from Extreme Right show the ideas they represent through their hair-do's. That hair fashion does not solely relate to hair on the head, is also shown by HAIR. ‘Hair determines, and hair seduces, hair is a precious possession or a source of shame'.
Keep your hair on!

Herlinde Koelbl

Herlinde Koelbl's interest in hair arose during her childhood, when she was still a young girl with red hair and freckles. During her career as a photographer hair kept recurring as a theme.
Earlier on she made photo series on, amongst others, ‘The German Living Room' (1980), ‘Men‘(1984), ‘Fine people' (1986) and ‘Jewish Portraits' (1989). For ‘Traces of Power' (1999) she investigated whether or not the power of various politicians in powerful positions influenced their physical appearance. She therefore portrayed well-known German politicians like Joschka Fischer, Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel. In Germany Koelbl is very well-known both as a photographer and film maker.

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Crazy HAIR Day

Does your hair look all right?

Saturday the 22th of november all kinds of hairy activities will take place in the Kunsthal during the Crazy HAIR Day. This event is organised as part of the exhibition HAIR from Herlinde Koelbl. A glimpse of the programme: hairmetamorphoses, a mustache parade and a barber.

The person with the longest hair of the Netherlands will be choosen. The winner gets a professional photoshoot by photographer Sjoerd Jonkman (known of the Coiffure Award) and hairstyler/make up artist Juliette den Ouden.


The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue HAIR published by Hatje Cantz Verlag (ISBN 978-3-7757-2029-8, € 39,80)

HAIR Herlinde Koelbl, hoofdbeeld - LR.jpg
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