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Jakob Zaaiman

artist’s biography

Born 1955 near Etersheim, North Holland. Educated in England and United States. Lives in London & New York. Works mainly with photographs, and is interested only in the troubling and disconcerting aspects of life which can be discovered within the ordinary. Each of his artworks is designed to house its own impenetrable narrative; sometimes self-contained; sometimes reaching out to realms beyond itself.

‘Art is a special way to explore strange and disturbing features of life from within a reflective, imaginative, presentational context. Art is more interesting and important than decorative, ornamental craft, which is what most people think proper art is all about. Francis Bacon’s Figure with Meat (1954), for example, is authentic art, whereas da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is merely decorative craft; both share the same presentational medium, yet are worlds apart in their intention. Da Vinci wants you to glory in the realisation and application of his unquestionably sublime technique, whereas Bacon wants you to enter into the mind-distorting world he has discovered. Da Vinci is really only a supreme showman, whereas Bacon is offering you a ticket to god only knows where. I would rather take the ticket.’

Zaaiman does not cite any direct influences, although he feels a great affinity for the sort of mysterious and meaningless photographs often found in obscure textbooks, government publications, religious tracts, strange specialist magazines, and the like.