Image project: Marie Jose Jongerius, Lunar Landscapes

"The photos that Marie-José Jongerius made on Maasvlakte 2 over the past two years are mainly about control. That's not a surprising choice for a photographer exploring a 2,000 hectare zone of artificial land reclaimed from the sea. Yet her approach gives the idea an unexpected twist. Soon after she was asked to do the series, she decided to photograph Maasvlakte 2 only by night, with as little artificial light as possible. This gives the photos an electrifying quality, as if we follow Jongerius on a safari through a blank space on the cultural map. On this site to the west of Rotterdam, nothing has yet acquired a history, a meaning, or even a purpose – it's bizarrely similar to "undiscovered" parts of the Amazon rainforest. The uses of Maasvlakte 2, like those of wilderness areas, seem undetermined, waiting to be filled in by civilized Westerners – even though as a viewer you understand that those uses were actually decided long ago. We just can't see them. The tension between visibility and invisibility, control and powerlessness, and, above all, dark and light comes to the fore in Jongerius's intriguing work, which raises the question of whether we humans really control our environment at all – and whether that's even something we should aspire to."  

- Hans den Hartog Jager

Marie-José Jongerius (De Bilt, 1970) studied photography at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and was granted her master of photography degree at the School of Fine Art and Design|St.Joost in Breda. In her photos, visible and invisible boundaries are revealed, boundaries that people introduce in the surroundings they admire, but against which they must also protect themselves. Throughout the years that she lived in California, she worked on a giant photo project about managing the desert in relation to the chronic water shortage there.

It is remarkable that Jongerius chose to record the construction of Maasvlakte 2 at night for Image Project Maasvlakte 2. This added the scarcity of light to the list of challenges the photographer and the vulnerable photography equipment faced, from the wind, water and sand. In her images, the new land is born from the darkness. The book Lunar Landscapes, which was born from the Image Project, is a continuation of her studies into the relationships between man, the living environment, nature and the tenability of the created landscape.