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"The Rhetorics of Work. Randstad Photocollection"
2004-01-28 until 2004-03-28
Contemporary Art Centre of Malaga
Malaga, , ES Spain

The CAC Malaga is presenting the exhibition The Rhetorics of Work. Randstad Photocollection. It comprises a selection of images from the photographic holdings of the Randstad Nederland, never previously exhibited in Spain. The collection focuses on a specific theme, that of work, and will be on show until 28 March. Started in 1988, the photography collection Work/Werk belonging to the professional services company Randstad Nederland has grown to comprise more than 300 images by international artists, all dealing with a concept as abstract as work. The present exhibition concentrates on work by Dutch artists and includes 26 images by 11 internationally-known names, including Rineke Dijkstra, Inez van Lamsweerde and Carla van de Puttelaar.

The exhibition reveals the level of quality attained by Dutch photography, a phenomenon that has been labelled the “Dutch Renaissance”. Curiosity for one’s surroundings, an interest in the everyday, attention to detail and a profound ability to describe characterise the work of a group of artists who seem to have picked up the mantel of the great 17th-century Dutch portrait painters.

This is photography with a markedly documentary character, which describes in a precise, detailed and objective way the personality of the sitter. As Frits Giertsberg noted in the exhibition’s catalogue: “Often portraits of an individual have a symbolic meaning that goes beyond that person [...] It can also act as a mirror in which we see reflected both the luminosity and the weight of our own existence”.

Rhetorics of Work includes examples of the different trends that form part of this resurgence of photography in Holland, such as photography of place (Erwin Olaf), the documentary image (Margriet Smulders), landscape (Renier Gerritsen), character portraits (Rineke Dijkstra), and the digitally-manipulated image (Inez van Lamsweerde).


The idea of forming a photography collection had its origins in the proposal to build up a collection of graphic art that reflects the company’s identity and would be used to make the workplace more agreeable for employees and clients of Randstad Nederland. The works in this collection are therefore hung in the company’s offices and workplaces.

These are images that surprise, provoke questions and encourage debate. According to the company itself: “each work is much more than an artistic object used to decorate the wall”.

The exhibition The Rhetorics of Work. The Randstad Photography Collection has enjoyed the support of the Dutch Embassy in Spain and Mondriaan Foundation.

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