Foam 3h: Sem Langendijk

Sem Langendijk's first solo exhibition Haven shows the result of a long-term photographic investigation into the process and effects of gentrification and the social inequality it generates. Foam shows Haven at a time when many city dwellers are looking for affordable housing and when many residents can no longer afford to live in the neighbourhood they were once rooted in.

Untitled, 2017 © Sem Langendijk.
Dog, 2018 © Sem Langendijk.
Untitled, 2015 © Sem Langendijk.

About the exhibition

Who owns the city? In his research project Haven, Sem Langendijk attempts to capture the environment of his youth: a place that no longer exists. Haven examines the environments of different port cities in various phases of transition, highlighting the transformation of disused docklands and the communities that reside there — showing not only a process of urban development but also of social exclusion.

Piecing together the mundane as silent signifiers of gentrification, Langendijk's criticism lies not in the natural cycle of how cities develop, but in the loss of character and history in the current trend of large-scale re-development projects. Having photographed in Amsterdam’s ADM, the Docklands of London and Red Hook in New York, at times it’s hard to distinguish one place from another in the homogenous and anonymous architecture of glass, metal and concrete that replaces the cultural imprint these places once had.

Canary Wharf, 2019 © Sem Langendijk.

About the artist

Sem Langendijk (1990, NL) grew up in Amsterdam's Westerdok and still lives and works in Amsterdam. He began his photographic research on the re-development of former port areas as a graduation project at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague in 2015, and in the following years, he released the three-part publication The Docklands Project, focusing on the gentrification and privatisation of docklands in Amsterdam, London and New York. He brought the material from this long-term research together in 2022 in his publication Haven (The Eriskay Connection), in which the different cities merge into a penetrating documentary reflection on the process and effects of gentrification.

In his documentary photography practice, he focuses primarily on portraying places and communities, exploring what connects people to their surroundings and what gives a place meaning and character. He works primarily analogue with slow, technical cameras, typical of the contemplative observation of the environment in which Langendijk finds himself.

Tommy, 2018 © Sem Langendijk.

Watch the video interview with Sem Langendijk

Artist Sem Langendijk showing one of his analogue cameras

Listen to Sem Langendijk as he explains the history and process behind his project Haven.

For more information or press requests, please see here or contact our press office at pressoffice@foam.org.

This exhibition is made possible with the support of the Van Bijlevelt Foundation, the Leeuwensteinstichting, the Mondriaan Fund and Kleurgamma Fine-Art Photolab.

Foam is supported by the VriendenLoterij, Foam Members, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, VandenEnde Foundation and the Gemeente Amsterdam.

Girl with big nose ring a lip piercing and dreads

explore connections

Foam 3h: Sem Langendijk