Flatland is an internationally acclaimed contemporary art gallery based in Amsterdam. Guided by its core values of independent attitude, cosmopolitan outlook and audacious thinking––the gallery seeks to push boundaries and exceed expectations with its fresh and multicultural selection of artists, media and oeuvres. From it’s base in Amsterdam, Flatland operates on an international scale due to its various activities which revolve around a programme of both art fairs and exhibitions in institutions around the world. The gallery has gained recognition for not only its work in contemporary photography but also in film, video, installations, sculptures, painting and drawings.
Based in the heart of Amsterdam, the gallery is located near Foam, the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum. The gallery participates in different art fairs such as Art Rotterdam, Paris Photo, Art Brussels and participates in festivals such as Impakt for idiosyncratic and innovative media art in Utrecht; Festival a/d Werf (with Ugo Rondinone) and Unseen photo fair, Amsterdam. In the gallery director Fiona van Schendel curates every year a group show that goes beyond the format of a commercial gallery exhibition and encompasses a collaboration with other galleries, artists and museums.
As part of its roster of artists Flatland Gallery represents internationally established artists such as Jocelyn Lee, Johan Grimonprez, Guy Yanai, Erwin Olaf, Ruud van Empel and Paolo Ventura. Likewise the gallery represents young emerging photographers such as South African Katharine Cooper and Gioia de Bruijn and has attracted talented artists such as Stelios Karamanolis and Alice Browne. Flatland regularly invites other artists to work with the gallery such as Alec Soth, Martin Parr, Ina Jang, Kim Boske, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin and others.
Early years of the gallery
One of the first exhibitions of Marlene Dumas and the gallery was in 1984, The artist as a young girl (simultaneously with one of her first museum shows Ons land licht lager dan de zee at Centraal Museum, Utrecht). Another highlight is one of the first exhibitions of photographer Erwin Olaf, in 1987, who has been with the gallery ever since. In 2012 Olaf received the Johannes Vermeer Award 2011 - the state prize for the arts - for the high quality of his entire oeuvre. In 2018 The Rijksmuseum acquired 450 photographs by Olaf for its permanent collection. Another highly renowned name today in the field of photography is Desiree Dolron whose work Flatland Gallery showed at the first edition of Paris Photo in 1997 and for who Flatland organized in conjunction with the Groninger Museum in 1998 her first solo exhibition behind the eye. Other early exhibitions at Flatland Gallery include shows for leading artists like Erik Andriesse, Rob Birza, F. Franciscus, Ronald Ophuis and Wim Izaks (to whom the Wim Izaks Award is allocated).
Video, Film, Installations
Since the eighties Flatland Gallery experimented with the convergence of art with film, music, video and multimedia installations. As one of the first galleries in the Netherlands Flatland brought in 1997 the club and art scene together at the KunstRai (nowadays Art Amsterdam) with the installation The White Room, Part II, by pioneer of veejay-ing, the artist Micha Klein and photographer Danielle Kwaaitaal. Other multimedia artists at Flatland were Dutch pioneer of video art Lydia Schouten, A.P. Komen & Karen Murphy and video artist Rob Johannesma. In 2015 Flatland Gallery introduced Erwin Olaf's newest body of work, aptly titled “Waiting": a two-channel video installation of 50 min. each, screened in a gray module that is designed specifically for the show and set in the centre of Flatland Gallery.
Since 2005 Flatland represents artist Ruud van Empel. Beginning 2009 four solo-exhibitions of Van Empel are held in New York, Tokyo, Düsseldorf and Paris. Van Empel participated in numerous group exhibitions including, in 2008/09, the prestigious exhibition Diana and Actaeon, The Forbidden glimpse of the naked body at the Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf, curated by Beat Wismer, Sandra Badelt and Mattijs Visser.
In 2007 sculpture artist Carolein Smit joined Flatland Gallery. In 2010 she received a request from the prestigious Manufacture National de Céramique de Sèvres in France. A large solo show was held at the Kunsthal Rotterdam beginning 2010. In 2011 her work was included in the Olbricht Collection, Berlin. Carolein Smit exhibited twice in Maison Rouge in Paris. Her work is also included in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London where she received a solo show in 2018.
Dutch documentary photographer Rob Hornstra has been with the gallery since 2008. Hornstra’s five year project on Sochi (The Sochi Project) has culminated in 2013 in worldwide exposure, from Time Magazine, Euronews to the Russian news site Lenta.ru.
In 2010 it was young artist Jaap Scheeren who joined the gallery. In 2011 he won the Bouw en Beeld Award that resulted in a museum show in the Cobra Museum, Amstelveen.
In 2014 the gallery is also proud to represent Katharine Cooper, a South African photographer who received the Photography prize of the Academie des beaux-arts’ for her documentary on the white minority in South Africa 'White Africans. a journey to the homeland'. In 2016 her work in the Middle Eastern regions is published by Rocher, Peuples persécutés d’Orient.
In 2015 Flatland started working with Dutch photographer Anoek Steketee, who is nominated for the 2015 Prix de Rome. Steketee exhibited her work recently in the 'On the Move photography' exhibition at the Stedelijk and FOAM: a trans-medial project, about the process of reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda, based around a popular radio soap. In 2015 she was also offered the assignment of the Rijksmuseum ‘Document Nederland’. The project of Steketee was exhibited in 2017 in the Philipsvleugel of The Rijksmuseum.
Another notable Flatland artist is the energetic Israeli painter Guy Yanai (1977). Yanai lives and works from Tel Aviv. Influenced by a variety of ‘Masters of Art’, from Matisse to David Hockney, (yet also by contemporary photography, television, paintings, and advertisements) Yanai portrays an intimate and personal environment in his paintings that include ordinary everyday items and simplified forms in vibrant colours. Being on the edge between figuration and abstraction, the work is nearly timeless, between real and fake, consequence and insignificance.
Additionally Flatland holds its own publishing-house. Artist books that have been produced and designed by graphic designers Gebroeders Silvestri from the Netherlands include: Parental Advisory: New Revelations, Jans Muskee; Hope/ Rain, Erwin Olaf; Barbara Broekman. Leading designer Swip Stolk designed the artists books Il faut cultiver notre jardin, Hennie van der Vegt; The calling of F. Franciscus, for F. Franciscus and the artist book Mary Waters. In 2015 Katharine Cooper's book White Africans, A Journey To The Homeland is published by Flatland, designed by the Swiss based designer Julie Joliat. The catalogue includes text from Jean-Claude Carrière and Phillip Prodger and was launched during Art Brussels 2015.
Besides artist books, Flatland published three times a year The Flatland Journal with contributions from art critics of Le Monde and The New York Times. The circulation was exclusive but nonetheless covered a broad, influential spectrum of readership around the world.
In 2007 Martin Rogge started a foundation to create a vibrant photography and art collection of museum quality. To achieve this objective the choices made by the Flatland Foundation are based upon the originality, authenticity, artistic appeal and quality of the work of artist photographers. The collection consists of Erwin Olaf, Damien Hirst, Ruud van Empel, Sam Taylor-Wood, Carla van de Puttelaar, Nazif Topçuoğlu, Desiree Dolron, Misha de Ridder, Sally Mann, Frank van der Salm, Hans op de Beeck, Hellen van Meene, The Sanchez Brothers, Keith Carter, Cristina Garcia Rodero, Nan Goldin, Rob Hornstra, Mark Seliger, Thomas Struth, Miles Aldridge, Zhang Xiaogang and many other artists.
Owner Martin Rogge comes from a musical family, his grandmother and father played the piano professionally and his uncle played the violin in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. At the age of nine he started studying the violin. Before he started the gallery at the age of 28 in 1983, Martin played the violin, saxophone and keyboards as a professional musician in an orchestra and an ensemble as well as in a rock band, a jazz band and a folk band. Martin Rogge was a member of the jury of the Sony World Photography Awards 2009 and a jury member of the Black and White Spider Awards. In 2013 he became a jury member of the International Kontinent Photography Fair award. Martin manages artists' careers and carries out art advisory functions for private, corporate and museum collections. In 2015 Fiona van Schendel joined the gallery as Director. She holds a MA degree in history from the University of Amsterdam and worked as historian at the International Institute for Social History, during which she published her book on plantations in the Dutch East Indies and received a PhD fellowship in international labour relations. Prior to working for Flatland she worked as an independent journalist/writer for newspapers and magazines.
The gallery also works with external professionals. Julie Joliat is a Swiss graphic designer based in Zurich. Her portfolio includes "pig 05049" with Christien Meindertsma, work for the house of Hermès and catalogues for l'école des beaux-arts de paris.
Flatland also worked with Constance Gounod, who assisted at Paris Photo. Constance previously worked for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, the Hayward, London, and the Saatchi Gallery in London. Today she is head of the pressdepartment of galery Perrotin. David Muehlfeld is responsible for the design of the new Flatland Journal. From thousands of applicants for the Design 21/Unesco design competition, Muehlfeld received twice (in 2007 and 2009) the honourable mention. Connected with the gallery and of invaluable value is Paul Bonnike, who heads his own agency Bonnike executive recruitment and is a valuable partner for Flatland in a wide range of matters. Jasper Droogers (Huis Hout Maakt) is a partner in building art installations and art handling. Droogers receives assignments from esteemed parties such as Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam and Internationale Architectuur Biennale, Rotterdam.
Flatland Gallery is member of the KKR (special loan agreement for art buyers) of The Mondriaan Foundation.