Matadin, Vinoodh and van Lamsweerde, Inez
Vinoodh Matadin and Inez van Lamsweerde
Matadin: Born September 29, 1961, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; married Inez Van Lamsweerde, 1999. Van Lamsweerde: Born September 25, 1963, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; married Vinoodh Matadin, 1999. Education: Matadin: Attended the Fashion Academy (the Netherlands), 1981–85. Van Lamsweerde: Attended the Rietveld Academy of the Arts, 1985–90, and the Vogue Academy of Fashion.
Addresses: Contact—Aire de Paris, 32, rue Louise Weiss 75013 Paris, France.
Matadin: Worked as model, c. early 1980s; worked as a fashion designer, 1986; began working as a fashion stylist, c. late 1980s; began formal collaboration with Van Lamsweerde, c. early 1990s. Van Lamsweerde: Began art career, c. 1980s; spent year on scholarship at Institute of Contemporary Art's PS1, 1992–93; worked in fashion photography, c. early 1990s–.
Awards: Van Lamsweerde: PANL Award from the Photographers Association of the Netherlands, 1992; Gold European Kodak Award, 1992, for fashion photography; Gold European Kodak Award, 1992, for people/portraits; Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, 1998, for applied photography; Art Directors Club of Germany Award, 1998, for outstanding performance in the area of photography; Merit Award from the Society of Publications Designers, 1998, for photography, fashion, beauty, still life, interiors/story in New York Times Magazine; Maria Austria Award for Photography from the Amsterdam Foundation for the Arts, 1998.
Since beginning their collaboration in the late 1980s, stylist/photographer Vinoodh Matadin and photographer/artist Inez van Lamsweerde have become known for their edgy magazine spreads, creative ad campaigns, and even music videos, which blur the line between art and fashion. Van Lamsweerde is also a well-respected artist whose challenging computer-manipulated photographs are displayed in the world's leading galleries under her name. While Matadin's name usually does not appear on his wife's fine art work, he still acts as her muse and is a recognized partner on such projects.
Together, they have developed a reputation for incorporating fashion-inspired, out-of-the-ordinary ideas into her fine art pieces. As Patrick Burgoyne of Creative Review emphasized, "Their images are finely honed, with thought going into every last detail, and as such they represent the pinnacle of the modern photographer's art." Both aspects of their careers have influenced the wider culture, including music videos, fashion spreads, and other artists.
Matadin was born in 1961 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Before entering Amsterdam's Fashion Academy in 1981, he worked as model. Matadin then spent four years at the Fashion Academy, launched a Dutch fashion label, and began working as a stylist. In the late 1980s, he met van Lamsweerde and began styling her photo shoots on a part-time basis. Van Lamsweerde was also born in Amsterdam, two years after Matadin. She attended the city's Rietveld Academy of the Arts from 1985, and while still a student, began working with her future husband.
Even before van Lamsweerde left the academy in 1990, she was already controversial. An early solo show, Vital Statistics at the Center for Architecture and City Planning in the Netherlands also grabbed attention. The art displayed included six female models proactively posed on the city's landscapes with hyperrealist colors and emotional energy. Though it was not obvious, the models and backgrounds had been shot separately and combined on a computer.
By now romantically involved with Matadin, the pair moved to New York City later in 1992. She had a one-year residency at the Institute of Contemporary Art's PS1. While they wanted to stay in the United States at the end of the residency in 1993 and work in fashion photography, the look of their pictures was out of sync with what was commercially popular. Van Lamsweerde told Helen Walters of Creative Review, "It was when grunge hit the fashion world and our photography was exactly the opposite of that: very colorful, very glamorous, with a '70s feeling, highly computerized, and so everyone here (in the States) just said 'forget it.' This agent advised us to go back to Europe and become stars so everything would be much easier for us in America."
The couple returned to Europe in 1993 and found a more receptive audience, though they worked on both sides of the Atlantic as their careers developed. Van Lamsweerde first found success in the fashion world with layouts in a Dutch fashion magazine and a fashion spread for Britain's the Face of 1970s-like models posed on dramatic backgrounds. The notoriety brought by the pictures in the Face caught them off guard. Van Lamsweerde told Creative Review's Walters, "When the Face came out we were totally not ready for anything…. It was super exciting but the attention was something we weren't really ready for and we were reluctant to cash in on that."
As their fashion career took off, van Lamsweerde continued to play with the female form in unconventional ways in her art work in this period as well. The 1993 series "Thank You Thighmaster" and "Final Fantasy" both challenged ideas about the female form through computer-manipulated photographic images. Male and female gender confusion was similarly explored in "Forest," which was the titular series of an exhibit in several galleries.
As van Lamsweerde and Matadin expanded their work in the fashion world while maintaining her career as an artist, the pair easily moved between the two genres. Van Lamsweerde told Jonathan Turner of ARTnews, "A few people find it hard to swallow, hence, doubt the art is sincere, but we have two careers at the same time. We see them as dual peaks: making a good show and a strong fashion presentation." She also needed the balance, telling the Independent's Michael Bracewell, "The slow, solitary process of very few art works balances out the fast-paced work of doing two ten-page stories a month in the fashion world."
The work Matadin and van Lamsweerde did together on fashion spreads and advertising campaigns was recognized to be a collaboration between the two. They were working as a team and wanted that fact known. While Van Lamsweerde was the sole person behind the camera and Matadin gave her the support to allow her to focus on taking pictures during the shoot, they both processed and manipulated the images used in their commercial work. The pictures she shot developed a distinctive look—with an stylized inelegance to the model's poses—and explored ideas of beauty, clothes, and fashion with a psychological edge. The unrealistic air came from the computer manipulation.
The couple's projects were varied from the mid- to late 1990s, and included ad campaigns for Thierry Mugler, Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood, Yohji Yamamoto, and Patrick Cox as well as fashion spreads for Vogue and Interview. They also shot Madonna for the cover of Spin magazine in 1998. Van Lamsweerde found inspiration in unique places for her fashion photographs. For her second campaign for Joop's 1997 men's line, she was inspired by the 1983 film The Hunger, for example.
By 1999, the couple made New York their home base, but continued to work worldwide. Van Lamsweerde, sometimes with Matadin's name as well, staged a number of major shows of her art work in the late 1990s and early 2000s. One large exhibit staged under both their names at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands in 2000 combined their fashion and art work. Entitled Modelphotografie, it consisted of a number of images taken while work-ing for fashion magazines and fashion companies. Many of the pictures were portraits of models, including the leading faces of the time such as Kate Moss and Christy Turlington.
Another thought-provoking exhibit was staged in 2000 at the White Cube in London. Reviewing Romance, Bracewell of the Independent observed: "Inez van Lamsweerde … is a photographer who has taken the language of her work in fashion and translated its meanings into confrontational, disquieting studies of the way we regard passion, gender, and the human body. Her work … can seem disturbing and disturbed, with a keen political edge."
In 2001, Van Lamsweerde and Matadin put together a challenging exhibit at the Leopolda train station in Florence, Italy. Collaborating with M/M, the graphic design collective from France, they exhibited a series of portraits of 26 models of varying ethnicities from the past decade. Captions, covering A to Z, detail their ethnic origins, but also vary in size and sometimes covered the faces of the models.
Matadin and van Lamsweerde continued to be leaders in fashion photography in the early 2000s as well. Van Lamsweerde's per-day fee for fashion shoots reached $35,000. In addition to photographing and styling projects for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, the duo created attention-grabbing international advertising campaigns for companies such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Vivienne West-wood, and the Gap. The pair moved into new genres such as music video directing by agreeing to work with Björk and M/M on "Hidden Place." In 2003, they referenced van Lamsweerde's 2001 lettered female model pictures with a male version for V Man, also done in conjunction with M/M. Four years later, they were responsible for the annual Pirelli calendar, shot in Pasadena, California.
Talking to ARTnews's Turner, van Lamsweerde explained how she looks at their complex, dual-focused careers. "Some people think we are preoccupied with glamour. It's an empty word. We were always interested in celebrating and subverting at the same time, both in the artworks and in the fashion. Our work is about constantly showing the opposite sides of a picture, to make you aware of the different realities that are going on at the same time."
Selected exhibitions (van Lamsweerde solo)
Vital Statistics, Center for Architecture and City Planning, Groningen, the Netherlands, 1992.
Heaven, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1993.
The Forest, Ars Futura Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland; Torch Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, Austria; Johen & Schöttle Gallery, Cologne, Germany, all 1995.
The Widow, Victoria Miro Gallery, London, England; Torch Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Rüdiger Schöttle Gallery, Munich, Germany; Johen & Schöttle Gallery, Cologne, Germany; Matthew Marks Gallery, New York City, 1997.
Me, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York City, 1998; National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland; Air de Paris, Paris, France; Doug Lawing Gallery, Houston, TX; Rüdiger Schöttle Gallery, Munich, Germany, 1999.
Photographs, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany, 1999.
Romance, White Cube Gallery, London, England, 2000.
Super You, Daniel Silverstein Gallery, New York City, 2003.
The Now People, Part I: Paradise, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York City, 2004.
The Now People, Part II: Life on Earth, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York City, 2005.
Selected exhibitions (together)
Modelphotografie, Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands, 2000.
(With M/M) Photographs, Leopolda train station, Florence, Italy, 2001.
Milneufcentseptantesix, L'espace lausannois d'art contemporain, Lausanne, Switzerland; Maiso Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France, 2001.
ARTnews, November 2001.
Chicago Sun Times, August 18, 2006, p. 57.
Creative Review, April 1, 2000, p. 13, p. 31.
DNR, May 16, 1997, p. 15.
Independent (London, England), September 3, 2000, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times, February 11, 2007, sec. Magazine, p. 34.
Observer (London, England), October 19, 2003, sec. Magazine, p. 44.
"Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin: Bio," Air de Paris, http://www.airdeparis.com/cv/Inez.pdf (May 20, 2007).
"Inez van Lamsweerde/Vinoodh Matadin," Lacan dot com, http://www.lacon.com/lamsweerde.htm (May 20, 2007).