Art Lovers #2: Rob Hornstra

If you like photography, join us March 7th

The famous Dutch photographer Rob Hornstra is coming to The Hague University of Applied Sciences! Thursday March 7th, 4:00 PM, Innovation Playground. The talk will be in English. Free entrance, register via the link below this message.

Art Lovers
Artists are being invited to The Hague University of Applied Sciences to talk about their work. Quite extraordinary, since it is not everyday you meet an artist, is it?
Art Lovers will take place five times this year.

On March 7th at 4:00 PM Art Lovers will host the famous Dutch photographer Rob Hornstra. At the Innovation Playground, Johan Nieuwenhuize, an artist himself and advisor to our art collection, will talk to Hornstra. His extensive and critical projects on Russia and a number of other projects will be discussed. How do you divide portraits of people into categories without ignoring their identity? And what does it mean for Hornstra that he is no longer allowed to enter Russia because of his art?

During this interview you can ask the artist questions and you can even meet him during drinks afterwards.
Also Hornstra’s exhibition Ordinary People is on display at the Fotomuseum Den Haag until March 17th.

Art Lovers is a programme of The Lighthouse.

All photographs: © Ron Hornstra
Photo credits:

Chelyabinsk, RUSSIA, 2003 – Porait of Alexandra Alexeyevna Artamonova in the museum of the tank/tractor factory in Chelyabinsk. During the Second World War Chelyabinsk accomodated the largest tank factory in the world. Because the men in those years were all sent to the front line to fight, manufacturing was taken over by women. Alexandra Artamonova was one of those women. After the war the factory was partly transformed into a tractor plant and Aleksandra Artamonova kept on working there. Although she could have retired after 50 years of service she prefered to keep working as she loved her work so much. The factory was her life. After sixty years of faithful service she finally retired, but she misses the time she was still employed there.

Employee preparing fish in the cement factory’s canteen. It is as if the moment the cement factory was completed in the fifties, the ice age set in. “Our factory was the most beautiful in the Soviet Union’s industrial culture. We produced above capacity. It was a clean factory; there were six greenhouses where we grew roses, which we distributed on Women’s Day. That’s no longer possible; we are only allowed to make cement now. The factory was awarded the Order of Lenin twice. Then the perestroika destroyed everything. We have lost 18 years. The collective has fallen apart.”

Chelyabinsk, RUSLAND, 2003 – Student in his shared room in student flat No. 57 A/B in Chelyabinsk.

In the centre of Angarsk they call Cement Town a ‘no-go’ area. ‘Nothing more than junkies and shiv artists!’ they say of the suburb’s residents. If a fight is reported, the police do not attend to it. Everyone advises us not to go there, particularly at the weekend when there is a disco in the cultural centre. We take the warnings to heart and find a trio of bodyguards willing to accompany us on an evening out in Cement Town. Leading the group is Dmitri, a police officer who would later style himself as “the Brain”. He calls his colleague Valeri “the Eyes” and the ex-soldier Slava is “the Pitbull”. Before we go in, we drain a bottle of vodka at the edge of the village. On the boot of the car, Valeri slices pieces of bread and bacon and Slava shows us films on his mobile which he recorded himself during his tour of duty in Chechnya. Our bodyguards are small but sturdy fellows. They instruct us that if things turn nasty, we should make our escape as quickly as possible in the car. They will handle the rest. Once we are inside the cultural centre, such a scenario seems unlikely; a few giggly teenagers hang around the entrance and on the dance floor everything looks amicable. Most of the crowd is made up of girls and they are busy dancing. It’s almost a disappointment. Perhaps the bandits will turn up later?

Chelyabinsk, RUSLAND, 2003 – Student in her shared room in student flat No. 57 A/B in Chelyabinsk.

Chelyabinsk, RUSLAND, 2003 – Yasha posing at the back of his brand-new golden LADA near the Kurchatov monument, a place where alternative people gather in Chelyabinsk.

In Turkey they are called Natashas. Russian prostitutes have become an export product. But they can also be found all over Russia. Like Katya, in Nizhny Novgorod. She says she’s 21, but that could just as well be 18. She’s not the only one here. Tens of girls walk the streets. Some of them look barely 16.
Katya moves slowly. Her answers are devoid of emotion. She tells us that she takes heroin. She costs 1,000 rubles (27 euro). That is per hour and not per client. Sometimes she spends the night with several men at the same time.
A green Lada waits anxiously nearby. Her manager Yelena (33) and an anonymous driver are sitting in it. If Yelena receives a phone call from a regular client, the driver can take Katya to him in a flash. If not, then it’s a case of waiting for a potential client in one of the slowly passing cars to stop. While Katya chews wearily on a piece of chewing gum, a black Volga with tinted windows pulls up next to her. Yelena shouts and Katya immediately runs away from the car. The car does not contain clients but policemen looking for a girl to spend the night with for free.

Karabash, RUSSIA, 2003 – A little boy in a boarding school for disabled children in Karabash. Factories that work up metal are located next to the boarding school. On the hills surrounding the factories won’t grow a thing.

Chelyabinsk, RUSSIA, 2003 – Girl in the shared corridor of a communal apartment. Every family has one room and facilities are shared, like a student hostel.