Peter de Krom
Hoek van Holland

Feb. 1, 2020 – Aug. 30, 2020 This exhibition has ended
Rotterdam is changing. New construction projects spring up everywhere and Rotterdam’s nasty edges are cleaned up. Change is also noticeable in Rotterdam’s most remote district, Hoek van Holland. In September 2019, a Rotterdam metro line to what the municipality refers to as Rotterdam Beach was opened. The photographer Peter de Krom (1981) grew up in ‘the Hoek’ and returned to his village between 2010 and 2015 to shoot a number of free photographic series. The Kunsthal is presenting five of these series, each of them an autonomous visual story. The mobility scooter club, the nudists in the dunes, and the palm tree on the beach that is doomed to perish are all conveying the ‘just act normal, that’s already crazy enough’ mentality of a village on the brink of change. ‘Hoek van Holland‘ will be opened to the public during the Art Rotterdam Week. With this exhibition, multiple ‘Zilveren Camera’ Award winner Peter de Krom is putting an end to his career as a photographer.

De Krom thinks of Hoek van Holland as a transient place, a village in an identity crisis that is forced to move with the times. Recently, the ‘Hoekse Lijn’ (the Schiedam to Hoek van Holland metro line) was opened to transport Rotterdammers to the harbour. There are also plans to build an additional 250 holiday homes and a hotel. Thirty kilometres from the Rotterdam city hall on the Coolsingel, life is different. Surrounded by the agricultural Westland area, De Krom considers Hoek van Holland to be a peculiar Rotterdam village. The ‘Hookenese’ enjoy their freedom, but are looking for certainties at the same time. The photographer never really understood the place where he was born. He left for Breda to study photography at the Sint Joost Academy, but continued to be drawn to Hoek van Holland and returned with his camera after graduating in 2010. With a sharp sense of observation, he manages to capture the stories of residents and everyday scenes with his lens. He looks for his subjects in ordinary life: sunbathers on a parking lot on a summer’s day, or a mother and her child beside a merry-go-round. He uses his clear visual language to convey a razor-sharp image of a situation. In De Krom’s series, the extreme ‘just act normal’ mentality often leads to unusual scenes. 

‘Documentary photography can do with some humour’ 

Group behaviour, human habits and humour are the connecting themes in De Krom’s series about Hoek van Holland. He has a sharp eye for residents that deviate from the norm, such as the eleven-year-old Timon who, like an expert soldier, skulks through the streets with his homemade artillery and recruits neighbourhood children. As if they were nature films, in the Kunsthal exhibition a voice-over is commenting on the series focusing on group behaviour. While still respecting his subject, De Krom for instance reinterprets the meerkat phenomenon. From a high vantage point, stark naked men and women are observing the bathers on the beach below – meanwhile hoping for a brief and exciting encounter. He finds humour in everyday scenes: the boy lying on the beach right next to the concrete footpath, or the fifteen members of Scootrangers Maassluis who are cruising across the dyke along the coast on their mobility scooters at a maximum speed of 12 kilometres per hour.

For the press

10. Schetsboek, Peter de Krom, Hoek van Holland.jpg
Sketchbook, Peter de Krom, Hoek van Holland
5. Timon, Peter de Krom, Hoek van Holland_lowres.jpg
Timon, Peter de Krom, Hoek van Holland

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