Rogier Houwen’s work is a reflection of a meditative state in which all apparent boundaries in between the experiencer and the experienced are absent. Without pushing or pulling, his photographs shift between the familiar and the unfamiliar, the knowable and the unknowable. This shift is an invitation for the mind to allow itself a transformation: a movement from actively trying to translate experience into abiding as untranslated being.
When the mind is not in need of anything – when it is not trying to reach a goal or gain something new – when the mind is in a state of simple, open attentiveness, then, there is no seer and the seen. Then, there is just seeing and nothing in between.
Houwen’s works are little hints, pointing at thoughtlessness in the midst of thoughts, the inactive in the midst of activities and unknowable emptiness in which objects appear and dissolve. These hints are reminders of their shared source – consciousness – which can be recognised within ourselves at the core of our own intimate experience.
In his projects ‘Matter, Mirror’ (2015), ‘Parallel’ (2017) and ‘Slow Motion’ (2018) Rogier illuminates the elasticity of perception and the apparent boundaries between the (un)recognisable. These series were the consequence of an experiment: after spending years printing photographs in the darkroom, Rogier spontaneously decided to leave the photographic paper unexposed for a year. He took the unexposed piece of paper home and spent time observing the empty sheet for 3 hours each day, one month long. In this experiment, there was a recognition, that the observer and the observed – consciousness and the objects appearing in consciousness – were one seamless process. This recognition expressed itself in a visual duet between formless and form, that continues in ‘Élan Vital’ (2019), ‘Cosmic Documents’ (2020) and his work in progress.
Houwen’s work has been exhibited at occasions such as Unseen Amsterdam, Haute Photographie Rotterdam, Pan Amsterdam and Museum Hilversum. Being an experienced analogical photo printer, Houwen also assists in developing the photographic work of other artists; over the past five years he has printed Willem Diepraam’s oeuvre and his retrospective exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in 2020.
1992, Laren, The Netherlands
BA Photography and Design, HKU University of The Arts Utrecht, Graduated in 2015.
Internship w/ Peter Svenson, Amsterdam Analogical Photoprinting, 2014
Haute Photographie, Art Rotterdam, 2019
Personal, Kahmann Gallery, Amsterdam, 2018
Haute Photographie, Art Rotterdam, 2018
Kunstbeurs De PAN, Amsterdam, 2018
Unseen, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam, 2017
Haute Photographie, Art Rotterdam, 2017
Rare, Kahmann Gallery, Amsterdam, 2016
In Persuit Of, Kahmann Gallery, Amsterdam, 2016
Amsterdam Art, Museumplein, Amsterdam, 2016
Haute Photographie, Art Rotterdam, 2016
Scapes, Kahmann Gallery, Amsterdam, 2016
This Art Fair, Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, 2015
Graduation Show, HKU, Utrecht, 2015
Windows, Walls Gallery, Amsterdam, 2012
Haute Magazine, 2018
Unseen Magazine, 2017
Haute Magazine, 2017
Haute Magazine, 2016
Mister Motley, 2015
NEW Photography Talent, 2012