Awoiska van der Molen 

Untitled #181-1 

Untitled #181-1

About the artist

Dutch photographer Awoiska van der Molen is a night owl. The night’s inscrutable darkness, and the contemplativeness it allows, draws her back again and again. She started by photographing the outskirts of Dutch towns, and then moved further out to the basaltic lands of Spain. Her images carry with them time spent in vast, black expanses, soaking up the mood and the soil. Awoiska van der Molen is mining a vein across the endless field of contemplation; she will gladly take along anyone prepared to lose themselves in profound and intimate territory. What the artist depicts and shares here, beyond mere landscapes, is her own experience of a place.


How did you start to photograph by night? Why are you so attracted to nocturnal moments?
My photography focuses on situations and locations remote from the turmoil of everyday life. When I started to photograph urban landscapes - prior to these natural landscapes - I wanted to emphasize a quietness and solitude I longed for. I found out that the night could bring me these conditions. I take long solitary walks in the darkness of the evening so my senses of hearing and smell are not distracted by the daily influences of an urban environment. Under such circumstances, I can experience the full richness of a dark and silent landscape.

What are the right time and place for you to photograph? Would you say that a kind of empathy runs in between you and the landscape?

When I started photographing natural landscapes in 2009, I wanted to be surrounded by the dark soil of the earth, to experience a sort of primordial sensation I was searching for. Initially, I explored literal black volcanic landscapes. Over time, I realized that I could also surround myself with other types of landscapes and be absorbed by them. For me, intimacy with something grand such as a landscape can happen only when there is a sense of empathy with it: I decide to take a photograph only when I feel a certain consolation when given a landscape. Mostly in the peaceful quiet of darkness, occasionally in daylight. This is how I’m able to witness the landscape revealing itself, sometimes concealing itself. The landscape can bring me solace, but it can also make me feel lonely. These are all impalpable ingredients I am hoping to sense while I’m moving through these landscapes.

There is an earthly quality to your pictures. They go deep into the blacks, into the soil; shapes merge, solid but in silence, light and fog caressing them. How do you achieve this unusual combination of solid presence and uncanny ephemeral radiance of the place?
The solid foundation present in the blackness and earth is, I think, a longing for protection by the landscape; it gives a comfortable, embracing silence. At the same time, I try to seek an escape from the darkness found in crisp lightning or certain other details. So a duality often exists in experiencing these landscapes, as your question aptly points out. I can’t always foresee and control that these will occur. It takes patient observation while I linger eve after eve through the area in question with all my senses focused, trying to recognize this gathering of aspects.

What does Terra Di Dio make reference to?
I started my nature landscape series by searching for ‘black grounds’ to photograph. I travelled to Stromboli, the most active European volcano. To stand on this fertile, warm black piece of earth was an inspiring start for my landscape series. When I then found out about Rossellini’s movie ‘Stromboli, Terra di Dio’ I was touched by the title. It expressed for me what I experienced in being on this volcano: reaching the origins of Mother Earth.

Limited edition, numbered and signed.

Selected shows and awards

Winner of the grand Prize of the Hariban Award, Japan, 2014
Show at Kristof De Clercq Gallery, Ghent, Belgium, 2014
Winner of Harry Pennings Prize, Netherlands, 2012 
Shortlisted photographer, 26th International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères, villa Noailles, France, 2011
Winner of Alt.+1000 competition, Rossinière, Switzerland, 2011
Pop in show, FOAM Amsterdam, 2011
Quickscan #01, Dutch Fotomuseum, Rotterdam, 2010
A touch of Dutch, DZ Bank, Frankfurt, 2010
In your face, Central Museum Utrecht, 2010

Selected publications

Hyères 2011; 26th International Festival of Fashion & Photography, Exhibition Catalog, villa Noailles - Archibooks, Paris, 2011

Featured links


& order

Awoiska van der Molen 
Untitled #181-1


Technical information

Pigment print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper - limited edition, numbered and signed certificate.


40 x 33 cm, Edition of 50 250.00 €

By the same artist

Awoiska van der Molen

By the same curator

Newcomers 2014