The expansive photo works by Willem van den Hoed move the viewer to observe, analyze, and dream. His views, captured from metropolitan hotel rooms, are hypnotic, and can be gazed at endlessly. Containing exceedingly sharp reproduction and countless details, Van den Hoed’s work makes vast metropolitan worlds accessible to our eyes. The preparation for these renderings is as precise. In the choice of hotel, for example, he keeps a keen eye on both the height and the view in the distance as well as the room’s interior, creating a synergy between indoor and outdoor spaces. Van den Hoed takes thousands of images, each with lighting that shifts according to the time of day or night. Once home, he then meticulously combines these digital images to create panoramic views on his computer, which almost always have the room number as their title.
Although inner spaces and cities are accurately represented, Van den Hoed's primary intent is not to document. His focus is the geometry in both the room and the underlying city, as well as any other graphic elements. Photo work 405, photographed in Ohana, Yanagawa from 2013, is a shining example of peace and balance through the careful composition and the angle at which the (hotel) room is photographed. In photo work 3116 the viewer sees the Conrad Hotel in Seoul, a building visible from his own apartment in Seoul. He photographed the interior from outside and from the inside again, with Yeouido's apartment buildings in the visible reflection, and the human figure reminiscent of Morning Sun by Edward Hopper. (Imaginary subtitle: "Swapping recipes with Jo".)
Van den Hoed's unique creative method differs from the customary approach. From his Amsterdam home, he begins by studying online maps of hotel rooms in metropolises around the world. Once he finds a room that intrigues him, he begins by sketching the composition he has in mind. The drawing becomes the design for the final photo image. Having booked a few nights, he then travels to the hotel in question, where he takes thousands of day and night shots. The enormous amount of recording is necessary to provide every single element of the photo with the correct lighting. Once home, he designs a line drawing on the computer and methodically fills it up with digital photo material. He uses photography as if it were paint, creating a piece in which the geometry of the room and the landscape play a central role. With the aid of a graphic program for photo editing, he can emphasize vanishing points, shadows, and reflections, all elements he also used in his earlier profession as an architect.
Willem van den Hoed (1965)
Willem van den Hoed lives and works in Amsterdam and Seoul. Trained as an architect at TU Delft in the 1980s, he has been working since 2002 primarily as a photographer, regularly exhibiting his prints both at home and abroad. He has held solo exhibitions in Kunstraum Berlin (2004) and Galerie Litfaßsäule München (2007). In 2016, he participated in Art Fair Tokyo. His work has been featured in the Netherlands at Museum het Prinsenhof (2012) and Museum het Valkhof (2013). In addition, his work was shown at various art fairs, including Art Amsterdam (2008 - 2009) and Art Rotterdam (2008-2011). Roger Katwijk presented his work at PAN Amsterdam (2016-2017) and at the KunstRAI (2017-2018), and has now set up an extensive solo exhibition with the artist. This spring, an oeuvre catalog with Van den Hoed's photo works was published by publishing company Lecturis, under the title Coming Home, covering the period of 2008-2018.