born in 1962 in Leeuwarden (the Netherlands), lives in Haarlem, the Netherlands
Ellen Kooi studied at Art Academy ABK Minerva and finished postgraduate studies in Art at the Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Having debuted as a theatre photographer, she treats her subject models like a stage director treats his actors.
Kooi is best known for her large-scale photographs of people set against the Dutch landscape, which seem to balance on the border between reality and fantasy. To enhance this effect, the artist often uses refined techniques that allow her to photograph landscapes in a way that we fail to see them – she carefully stages her panoramas and often uses the Hitchcock-style low point of view which forces the viewer to look at the scene from the ground level and creates in the observer the impression of intruding within a different world. The suspended unreality of the setting is further underscored by both the crystalline colours of the photographs and a strange cold light that seems to be emanating from some other magical place.
The artist’s most important exhibitions include Photographies (2011), in Le centre Image/ Imatge, Orthez, France and Out of Sight/ Hors de Vue (2010), in Institut Néerlandais, Paris, France. Kooi’s works can also be found in numerous private collections. The last publication to include her photos is “Out of Sight” (2010) – 35 colour reproductions and essays by Bernard Marcellis and Frits Gierstberg – published by Filigranes Editions.
(based on the article by Gigliola Foschi and information provided by the artist)