Former director Els Barents wins Colin Ford Award / Award given out by The Royal Photographic Society in London
Last Wednesday, 16 September 2015, our founder and former director Els Barents received the prestigious Colin Ford Award. The award is given each year by The Royal Photographic Society to honour an individual who has contributed in a major way to curatorship. From Barents’ biography, as spoken during the ceremony:
Els Barents is a curator, writer and collector. She studied art history and graduated from Leiden University in 1976. Since then she has paved the way for a flourishing photo culture in The Netherlands by showing and acquiring contemporary photographs in and for a range of institutions.
Barents has worked as the first curator of photography for the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, for which she outlined an exhibition program and started its photo collection. She was Deputy Head of Exhibitions at the Netherlands Office for Fine Arts in The Hague, for which she wrote the outlines for the European Biennial ‘Manifesta’, as well as an advisor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For the last fifteen years she has been the Director of the new to build Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam’s first photography museum, which offers a varied exhibition programme and a collection focussed on Dutch and international contemporary work. In September 2013, Huis Marseille doubled its size after purchasing and renovating the canal house next to the original museum — all dedicated to photography.
Her exhibitions usually were accompanied by publications like ‘Apartheid & After’ (with David Goldblatt), Candida Höfer (Dutch libraries), Robert Mapplethorpe (’10×10′), Dr. Erich Salomon (‘From the life of a photographer’), and early shows and publications with Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall and others.
Barents retired from the gallery in September 2014. For her last exhibition – ‘The Marseillaise’ – she selected five artists she often collaborated with: Valérie Belin, Jacqueline Hassink, Naoya Hatakeyama , Sarah Jones and Rob Nypels.
Huis Marseille congratulates Els with this wonderful award, a well-deserved crown on her work.