Mart Engelen



In 1980 Mart Engelen enrolled at the University of Utrecht as a law student. A couple of years later he switched over to photography classes and made his official start as a free lance photographer in 1991. Mart Engelen worked on his art photography while working for international editorials and commercial clients.

He refers in his work to existentialism meaning ‘to the mood and thought of it’ in which his conception of freedom and value arise from his view of the individual. He uses black and white photography as a medium to reinforce this. “The word is now loosely applied to so many things that it no longer means anything at all.Since we are ultimately alone, isolated islands of subjectivity in an objective world, we have absolute freedom over our internal nature, and the source of our value can only be internal.”

Gallery Camera Work Berlin showed Mart Engelen’s work in 2008 at the group exhibition ‘AFRIKA’ between other artists such as Leni Riefenstahl, Peter Beard, Irving Penn, Nick Brandt and Bruno Barbey. His first solo exhibition at Young Gallery Brussels in 2003 Mart Engelen showed a personal choice out of his photography collection and published his first book ‘MEMORIES’.

As for photographer Mart Engelen it is essential that photography itself is not the catalyst to another art form but to seek and reveal the untouched and purity of its moment in a spilt second of its invulnerability. To record the art ‘that is the world around us’ is not his final act.It is for him the principle, a start, to a continuing process to develop and highlight details of that particular moment of existence through a specific technical approach in which deficiency of the image can be essential. In this Mart Engelen brings into his work the existentialism through’ the real photo reality’. Portraits like Suzanne, Valentine and Marlana are outstanding pieces on its own and a good example in which he emphasize his philosophy about photography and our reality. His outdoors compositions of the nature elements in the untouched setting with or without the human figure are his own’ natures mortes’ in which he also have the keen eye for the details that only will come through by his touch of processing.

It actually counts for both, his ‘natures mortes’ as well as his portrait photography, where he captures existence through the unpredictable, as we can see with his portraits of Georg Baselitz, Jean Dieuzaide, Theo Kars and the images of ‘Les Gitanes de Camargue’.

The photographs of Mart Engelen can be found in a constantly growing number of private, public and corporate collections throughout the U.S.A and Europe.

Mart Engelen
Title: Valentine Vidal, Biarritz 2004
Dimensions: 30x40