Wouter van Buuren

Wouter van Buuren (1972) lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Wouter van Buuren is not only a photographer, he is also an acrobat. After climbing onto cranes, rooftops and other risky locations, often challenging the law and putting his own life in danger, he makes urban and rural landscape photo collages. Van Buuren brings the world to the palm of our hands by creating panoramic images that give us the illusion of all-around world surveillance. His intention, as he says, is to create a new space, to offer the spectator a new perception of it.

On the surface his work fits within today`s obsession with digital maps that jump from a simple, pinned down location of a street to a 3D global view of the street itself from which we can zoom out untill we see a satellite image of the planet. His work can deceivably seem to be a media oriented, photographic response of Google maps, but is it? What does really lie beneath the surface of van Buuren`s timely images?

Van Buuren’s sees his work as the ultimate theatre of his existence. “For me landscape has intrinsic beauty and symbolic meaning. The meaning lies in the landscape as our ultimate home. It contains the earth, the sky, the sun and it extends into infinity of the cosmos. All dreams and possibilities can be projected into it.

Van Buuren’s intent is not to show landscapes as separate entities, but more as environments of his adventures. The end result is the proof. The trace of an intricate process that involves finding the location, taking the risk, feeling the thrill, the adrenaline of the danger and then the satisfaction after succeeding. The importance of these elements: thrill, adrenaline and satisfaction becomes addictive for the maker; indeed, it is not only about taking pictures, the emotions attached to the process are of utter importance to van Buuren. He works in the same manner as a graffiti artist who breaks the law and risks his life to put his work in the streets: it is about the pleasure of knowingly doing something wrong and dangerous, getting away with it, and being able to develop his own work, the trophy of the deed.

Van Buuren views his work as records of physical explorations, the conquering of mostly high and often hard to access sites, which give him enough height to get a maximum overview. He has made photographs in cities, industrial zones, fields and the nature of Europe, the US and China.

For his new series “Timespaces” van Buuren shot fragments of the Chinese urban landscapes and combined them into a photo-matrice. Each matrix shows fragments of the urban landscape of a big city and parts of the buildings from which he photographed.

The intention is not to portray the cities but they serve as a background for a personal experience of space, time and scale. The cities stand for the urbanization of world in the current epoch in which the world population is at its largest and most people live in cities.”

For each work a line on a map is the starting point. In one day van Buuren followed this line and photographed the view from as many buildings as possible. In the matrix the images are positioned in the spacio-temporal order in which they were taken. The columns from left to right (or reverse) show the shifting through the landscape. This shifting coincides with the passing of time in one day. The end result is a spatio-temporal report of a crossing of a city. It forms a cylindrical timespace.

Van Buuren has taken upon this drive of freedom to go outside the studio in order to make his unstoppable work. The exhibited works are undoubtedly the result of a world’s explorer and his heroic actions.


2015 Museum IJsselstein, De Stad in Mij
2015 Group Exhibition, Art Issues Gallery, Weert
2014 KunstRAI, Amsterdam
2014 Solo Qlick Editions, Amsterdam
2014 Group Art Spectrum, Weert
2014 The Great Last Minute Art Fair, Rotterdam
2014 Solo at the Department of the Build Environment of Eindhoven University of Technology
2014 Group Dutch Design Exhibition at Hubei Institute of Fine Arts, Wuhan China
2013 Group Exhibition AIR9, Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam
2013 Duo with Simsa Cho at Symphony of Peace Prayers, Amsterdam
2013 Group Exhibition, Buiten Gewoon, curated by Noorderlicht, Groningen
2013 Duo Exhibition Qlick Editions, Amsterdam
2013 Art Wynwood, Miami
2013 Art at the Warehouse, Rotterdam
2012 AIR8 artfair in De Oude Kerk (The Old Church) Amsterdam
2012 Solo Symphony of Peace Prayers, Amsterdam
2012 Artfair Scope, New York
2012 Artfair Art Wynwood, Miami
2012 Artfair RAW, Rotterdam
2012 Artfair Realisme, Amsterdam
2012 Group Scherven of Bouwstenen, Drachten
2012 Solo Witzenhausen Gallery – Amsterdam
2011 Group ZomerExpo Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag
2011 Duo Studio Show with Stefan Moritz Becker, Münich
2011 Group Figment Festival, New York
2011 Group AIR7, Amsterdam
2010 Group Open Studios Westelijke Eilanden, Amsterdam
2009 Group Open Studios, Aalsmeer
2008 Group Open Studios Westelijke Eilanden, Amsterdam
2007 Group Museum De Tiendschuur, Weert
2007 Group Koorenhuis, Den Haag
2006 Group Arts-Place, Amsterdam
2005 Solo Gallery Fotogram, Amsterdam
2004 Group Amsterdam Centre for Photography
2002 Group Sugar No Milk, Vrije Academie, The Hague

2015 Museum IJsselstein
2014 LeasePlan Corporation
2009 Municipality of Amsterdam

2015 BK informatie
2014 Eindhovens Dagblad, April
2013 Volkskrant Magazine, September 7th
2013 Buiten Gewoon, special edition Noorderbreedte, Noorderlicht
2012 Powertalk October 2012, TenneT
2012 Scherven of Bouwstenen, Karmel Klooster
2011 Catalog ZomerExpo Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Online publications
2014  >> Eindhoven University of Technology (in Dutch)
2013  >> Noorderlicht(in Dutch)
2012  >> ABC News
2012  >> sessions.edu

2004-2005 Amsterdam Centre of Photography
2000-2002 De Vrije Academie, The Hague

1996 master degree in physics, Utrecht University