Awoiska van der Molen – It’s heart-warming to see an artist being successful with an approach that is becoming increasingly rare. As mentioned in Sean O’Hagan’s perceptive review, Awoiska van der Molen’s images are “captured in single exposures of up to half an hour, then painstakingly printed in her darkroom on large format, silver gelatin paper. The methodology is unapologetically old-fashioned, and the results extraordinarily powerful”.
Extraordinarily powerful – I completely agree. Art married to Craft; Vision coupled to Know-How, each pushing the other in a relentless journey towards an ideal. It comes as no surprise to me that Awoiska won first prize at the Hariban Award, as her approach reminds me of the practice of Shugendo, a Japanese aesthetic of inner cultivation through rigorous training and testing.
Her photographs make you understand that “seeing” is more than a thing that you do with your eyes, involving you in your entirety as if performing Muga Ichi-nen Ho (“No Self, One Thought Method” of experience).
Of course, metaphysics aside, her photographs are just plain bloody good!