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During Eurosonic Noorderslag in the Groninger Museum: Dvotion - Claude Vanheye, portraits of Top DJs

Wednesday 12 December 2018
Claude Vanheye DVOTION - Oliver Heldens 2015
Claude Vanheye DVOTION - Oliver Heldens 2015

From 17 January 2019 the Groninger Museum presents the exhibition DVOTION of renowned Dutch photographer Claude Vanheye, who celebrates his 50th jubilee with this show. He took iconic photos of among others Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Grace Jones, Kate Bush, Michael Jackson, and numerous other pop legends. Over the last few years Vanheye made a remarkable series of world-renowned DJs that will be on view internationally and collectively in the exhibition called DVOTION. This first showing in the Groninger Museum therefore is a world premiere.

DVOTION shows his portraits of international top DJs as David Guetta, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Sven Väth, Adam Beyer, and of course Dutch dance heroes as Martin Garrix, Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, Hardwell, and Oliver Heldens.

Vanheye explicitly did not try to capture as much dynamic a possible, like regular DJ photographers do, but aimed for the opposite instead: complete stillness, a freeze frame in which the DJ is frozen in the moment. The photos therefore remind of Renaissance portraits, sometimes with romantic or sensual expressions.
Claude Vanheye came in contact with the world of dance music for the first time only in 1998, through the group Faithless. At their concert in Paradiso he was gripped by the power of their charismatic rapper/singer Maxwell Frazer. “I had never been that impressed before with how musicians are able to send their audience into a trance.”
After that, he started visiting the dance spectacle Sensation in the Amsterdam Arena annually, but during all those years he never knew how to capture what he saw in his own way.

In 2014, Vanheye photographed at Sensation with a new Nikon 300 and 400mm long-focus lens he was in fact testing for another assignment for the first time. He was able to follow DJ Fedde Le Grand at close quarters and at that moment he immediately knew how he would photograph DJs from that day forward.
He reminisced about that first time with Faithless and inspired by their track ‘God Is A DJ’ Vanheye captured the DJ as a modern high priest, who sends the audience into an almost religious hypnosis with his music. From that time onwards, that is how he photographs them and how the project’s title arose: DVOTION.

As part of ESNS Art in Groningen, the first selection of 16 photos from the DVOTION series is on display in the Groninger Museum for the first time.

ESNS Art 2019

ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) is an annual festival in the city of Groningen. For four days, Europe’s biggest showcase festival offers a stage to European artists. The first three days centre around European talent, with stages in more than thirty venues in the city centre of Groningen. This is followed by Noorderslag on Saturday, when Dutch talent is given the opportunity to presents themselves to the public. This year ESNS groups the art-related activities under the name ESNS Art for the first time.

The exhibition DVOTION is on display from 17 January until 24 March 2019 in the Groninger Museum.