Comedia: The Man and the Swan (2000-2004)


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  • Description

    Artist: Aernout Overbeeke

    Silver Gelatin print on baryte paper, size app. 30x30cm, on paper size 50x40cm, printed and signed by the photographer.


    Comedia series

    At the outset of this century Overbeeke started on a personal project for which he photographed actors and dancers in his studio, using objects from his large collection of ethnographic objects, such as masks, weapons and jewellery that he brought back from his travels through Africa, Australia, Japan and former New Guinea. The origin of the title of this project is Commedia dell’ Arte, after the humorous theatrical presentation performed by professional actors who traveled in troupes throughout Italy in the 16th century.



    Aernout Overbeeke (1953-2023) moved as child with his parents in 1963 to Amsterdam. In those formative years he studied art history on his own, by spending all his free time in Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum, which turned him in an obsessive viewer. Overbeeke left secondary school before completing his education and became a freelance photographer.

    For almost a year he was an assistant with Ed van der Elsken. Because he enjoyed seducing girls with his camera, he decided to become a fashion photographer. At the time there was hardly any fashion industry in the Netherlands and little innovation in fashion photography for the magazines. So Overbeeke gradually came to realise that his talent could not flourish here. After the bird of this children (a son Kenzo in 1978, and a daughter Teska in 1980) he had to change and earn a living.

    He invested all his time and energy in mastering the finesses of his technique. In 1983 he showed his new work, slowly produced with a large format camera and crept under a black curtain, to Paul Meijer, then art director of the GO/Needham advertising agency. Meijer was impressed and gave him his first assignment for an insurance company. The campaign won an award in the Netherlands Art Director’s Club that same year, and Overbeeke’s reputation was made.



    Work by Aernout Overbeeke can be found in the collections of Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Groninger Museum (Groningen), Cobra Museum (Amstelveen), Kunstmuseum (Den Haag), Davenport Museum of Art (Davenport, Iowa), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, Calfornia).



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