Scheltens & Abbenes
The duo Scheltens & Abbenes are seen as the most progressive still-life photographers in the Netherlands today.

Maurice Scheltens (1972) and Liesbeth Abbenes (1970) have built an international artistic practice at the intersection of commissioned and autonomous photography. Foam presents the largest museum solo exhibition of the artist duo so far. 

The exhibition draws the visitor into a sense of wonder at the things we encounter in daily life. In their studio, Scheltens & Abbenes analyse the essence of things by subjecting their anatomy to a meticulous and painstaking examination. These objects range from a colourful powder patch, a sharp crease in a shirt or lush flowers on a lorry. These objects come to life by lifting them from their everyday context, framing and zooming in on them, in order to penetrate to their innermost core.

ZEEN guides the visitor through an extensive oeuvre built up over the past 18 years. The exhibition comprises a large number of diptychs. Reproductions of magazine pages on which photographs by Scheltens & Abbenes were originally published are combined with large prints that have been taken out of context. Through these combinations, Scheltens & Abbenes examine the tipping point between commissioned and autonomous photography. This also shows how the different individual images in the various series relate to each other. Scheltens & Abbenes also created a new video installation, specifically for this exhibition. Just as they treat the objects they photograph as building blocks for their final composition, they used their previous photographs as building blocks for this site-specific video installation. The installation perfectly captures their fascination for repetition, lines, surfaces and structures. The viewer is encouraged to look very carefully, and so to share the duo’s fascination for the structure of things at a micro-level.

Visit and revisit the works by Scheltens & Abbenes, other exhibitions and events as a Foam Member.

The exhibition Scheltens & Abbenes – ZEEN is made possible by BeamSystems, the Mondriaan Fund and Kleurgamma Fine-Art Photolab. Courtesy of The Ravestijn Gallery Amsterdam.

Foam is supported by the BankGiro Loterij, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, City of Amsterdam, Foam Members, Olympus and the VandenEnde Foundation.

Maurice Scheltens and Liesbeth Abbenes have been an artist duo since 2001. Maurice Scheltens studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, and Liesbeth Abbenes attended the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Scheltens & Abbenes produced commissioned photography for fashion and design brands such as Paco Rabanne, Maison Margiela, COS, Hermes, Scholten & Baijings, Arper, Muller van Severen, Arita, Mutina and editorials for magazines including Fantastic Man, The Gentlewoman, Double, Pin-Up magazine, MacGuffin, The Plant and New York Times Magazine. They have had exhibitions at Jan Cunen Museum (2012), Huis Marseille (2013), De Kunsthal in Rotterdam (2013), The Ravestijn Gallery (2018), Limart/Tokyo (2012), Palais Galliera Musée de la Mode Paris (2012),The Art Institute of Chicago (2013) and Three Shadows Gallery/Beijing (2015). The books On Display (2008), I Put This Here (2012), Le Style (2012) and Unfolded (2012) have all become collectors’ items. Scheltens & Abbenes won the ICP Infinity Award in New York (2012).

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Scheltens & Abbenes