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CF 07-01-23 04 (Crown Fountain Pearl), 2007Archival ink jet print11 x 14 inches on 12 x 15 inch paperSigned Edition of 50
Photography may be best at recording surfaces, supporting the belief—at least at first glance—that the world around us is just what it seems with no hidden underpinnings. Traditionally, architectural photographers take this idea even further, correcting perspective, eliminating background distractions, and waiting for that perfect fifteen minutes of daylight in order to make the façade look like the architect’s drawing. Jan Theun van Rees has broken through these conventions and gone beneath the visible skin of iconic buildings in Chicago. In a sense he has made the buildings transparent, allowing us access to the seemingly chaotic and asymmetrical service spaces and structural components that support the elegant exteriors. This image takes us inside Jaume Plensa's Crown Fountain, the renowned public artwork in Millennium Park that presents video of Chicago citizens’ faces across its glass-block facade. Van Rees took up photography as a principal interest in 1997 by photographing the crawl space underneath his studio. Subsequently he explored the hidden spaces at the Amsterdam Municipal Theatre, which was presented in 2002 as a site-specific installation of large photographs. Since 2003, Van Rees has been working alternately in Amsterdam and Chicago. In Amsterdam he focuses on dismantled spaces in cultural institutions, which has resulted in several commissions, including the Stedelijk Museum, Museum of Jewish History, and the City Archive; while in Chicago he continues to photograph hidden spaces. In 2007 Van Rees’s monograph One Wall Away: Chicago's Hidden Spaces was published by US Equities in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Photography, where he had an exhibition with the same title.