Whisper Not! A Different Dimension of Seeing
Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, NL 3 March / 28 May 2006
The photographs shown in Whisper Not! were acquired by the H+F Collection in close consultation with Huis Marseille, where they are on long-term loan as a 'promised gift'. Whisper Not! derives its name from a composition by the American tenor saxophonist Benny Golson and is meant as a call to let the non-emphatic, 'whispering image' appeal to the imagination.

The purpose of this shared adventure was to show the work of relatively young contemporary artists who investigate the area between reality and abstraction. Artists and photographers who have already proven themselves, but have not yet had a major breakthrough. What they have in common is the restrained manner in which they reflect the essence of reality, thus leaving room for viewers to make their own interpretation of that reality.

The German artists Uta Barth and Jörg Sasse, the Swedish Annika von Hausswolff, the Italian Luisa Lambri and the British photographer Hannah Starkey are all in one way or another fascinated by windows, shutters, blinds and curtains as thin visual partitions that let the life outdoors into the house. They rigorously train their cameras on or through such windows, each in their own way investigating this timeless image devoid of perspective that will always evoke a stream of thoughts and associations. As such, these images demand absolute repose from the viewer and complete concentration. Even more than the other photographs exhibited here, Uta Barth's series white blind (bright red) from 2002 is about the act of looking. Barth accordingly made a special selection from that installation for Huis Marseille's Big Room.

The Japanese photographer and Buddhist monk Syoin Kajii combines meditative eloquence with a poetically analytical view of the various appearances that the surface of the sea can assume under the influence of wind and weather. His direct and intense manner of observation is shared by the other photographers in this exhibition. The lenses Frank van der Salm chooses when photographing various buildings and spaces produce an abstraction of reality, and as a result, his work is also an investigation into the parallel spaces that lie beneath the surface. Gerald van der Kaap zooms in close with his series of photographs of teenagers in China (2003), forsaking context for heightened images.

In her series Nederlandse bergen (Dutch Mountains), Dorothée Meyer causes the Dutch landscape to bulge to the maximum through a sophisticated manipulation of her camera. As a tourist in North Korea, Martine Stig photographed precisely what her guides allowed her to, from vantage points that they dictated. Nonetheless, her images have extra an overtone that is not seen by the North Koreans themselves. The Spanish photographer Carmela García visualizes heroines, divesting them of their ordinary manifestation by portraying them as sculpture. In Japan, the French photographer Pierre Faure photographs moments of rest and reflection within the hectic dynamics of a metropolis.

In Huis Marseille's inner courtyard, films by Hans van der Meer were shown.
(after the Huis Marseile press release)


Whisper Not! A Different Dimension of Seeing, with texts by Han Nefkens, Els Barents and Hilde Teerlinck. Including a complete overview of the 'promised gifts' to Huis Marseille. Dutch/English, 176 pages.
ISBN 90-805227-4-0 / 978-90-805227-4-9
€ 19.95

The book can be ordered through the Huis Marseille website.

Huis Marseille


The ArtAids foundation was set up in 2006 at Han Nefkens’ initiative. ArtAids fights AIDS with the power of art as its most important weapon. ArtAids invites leading artists to produce work that is inspired by AIDS and related problems. These works of art are used to raise the public’s consciousness and to encourage their involvement.

Fundació Han Nefkens

The Han Nefkens Foundation is a private non-profit organisation that was set up in Barcelona in 2009 with the aim of promoting the production of contemporary artworks. The mission is to stimulate artistic creation in Barcelona by offering international artists an opportunity to create artworks and interventions in the city, and to promote other fields of contemporary creation.


Han Nefkens started to collect art in 2000. The H+F Collection, named after himself and his partner Felipe, is in long-term loan to various museums in The Netherlands and abroad. Nowadays Han Nefkens is not only active as a collector but also as an initiator of international art projects, often in collaboration with museums and other art institutions.