In the photographic installation made specifically for the Face to Face exhibition photographer and film director Menno Otten showed a collection of more than thirty portraits he shot over six years at the same tram stop in Amsterdam. He captured people, strangers, sitting behind the same window of the trams coming and going.

Painting-like portraits hold a strong resemblance with the old Dutch Masters. In these close-up portraits he uses the reflection of the typical Dutch light in order to reflect the inner state-of-mind of his characters. Menno Otten managed to catch the deepest solitary silence at the nosiest point of the city. Fascinated by the smallest details, Otten photographed so close that it feels as if we can touch the people in the photos, though at the same time these people are untouchable, far away, disappeared within themselves. The artist captured people at a time when they are offline: escaped from the omnipresent, ubiquitous digital burden they are often subjected to.

Unlike his internationally acclaimed video work Otten literarily freezes time with his photography as his camera captures a glance that touches him: the eyes of another. Everyone raises his or her own eyes, is in his or her own unique zone - yet it’s as if the people in these carefully selected photos for this exhibition cast one and the same glance. Even though you can lose yourself in each individual face - together they form a chorus of silence.

At a time when people are doomed with the confrontation of looking and being looked at, at a time when they are constantly taking selfies and are constantly aware of the omnipresent cameras, Menno Otten’s photography is searching for a peaceful moment and reflection.
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