Awoiska van der Molen (1972) is a Dutch visual artist, photography as her main tool. Her black and white images are abstract representations of anonymised landscapes that are the result of her urge to return to the place from which we stem: the uncorrupted territory of nature.

In 2019 Van der Molen was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet, the global award in photography and sustainability. This exhibition with the theme 'Hope' is touring world wide until 2021.
In 2017 her work was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize and was she the recipient of the Larry Sultan Photography Award 2017. Van der Molen was awarded the Japanese Hariban Award in 2014 and was finalist at the Hyères Festival International de Mode et de Photographie in France in 2011. Her first monograph ‘Sequester’ was nominated for the Paris Photo / Aperture First Book Prize in 2014 and it received Silver Medal for ‘Best Books from all over the World’ in Leipzig, Germany.
Van der Molen studied Architecture & Design followed by photography at Minerva Art Academy Groningen and Hunter City University in New York. In 2003 she completed her MFA in Photography at the St. Joost Academy in Breda, Netherlands.


" Since the start of my artistic practice seventeen years ago (at first photographing in urban settings, then more and more drifting into natural wilderness), my aim has always been to try to get as close as possible to some true, unspoilt core of a place. By peeling off all the many layers of today’s roaring world, I slowly eliminate all distractions in order to hear, see and experience my surroundings with clean senses. Due to cascading technological revolutions, our society has evolved enormously over the last few centuries. Our bodies however, have not evolved at the same pace, and we suffer when we are cut off from nature. Yet even as we are engulfed in this modern world, I believe that the human body possesses some deep internal memory, an unconscious instinct, that recognizes when we get closer to the kind of place from which we stem: the uncorrupted territory of nature. The experience of this return is what I seek to visualise through my images.

My black-and-white photographs of mountains, forests or bodies of waters thus become abstract representations of anonymised landscapes, the result of my urge to return to our origin. Making my photographs, I spend long periods of time in remote areas – in absolute solitude – so as to allow nature to imprint its specific emotional qualities on me. Only a few images travel back with me to be hand-printed in the dark room. Without titles or any indications as to their locations, the large-scale silver gelatin prints recreate my experiences of these secluded natural worlds, erasing boundaries of time and space between the viewer and the source.

Regardless of how personal the starting point of my work may be, in the end I hope my images touch the strings of a universal knowledge, something lodged in our bodies, our guts, an intuition that reminds us of where we came from ages ago. A memory of our core existence, our bedrock, unyielding certainty in a very precarious world."




2001-2003 MFA in Photography Post St. Joost Breda, NL
1999-2000 Hunter City University NY Department of Art, New York, US
1998-2001 Minerva Art Academy Photography, Groningen, NL
1994-1997 Minerva Art Academy Architecture & Design, Groningen, NL

Solo Exhibitions

Het Concertgebouw The Living Mountain, icw Composer in Residence Thomas Larcher, Amsterdam (autumn '21)
Muziekgebouw aan het IJ  Odysseus, icw Composer Des Vaderlands Calliope Tsoupaki, Amsterdam (autumn '21)

Annet Gelink Gallery Am schwarzen Himmelsrund, Amsterdam
Museum Kranenburgh Tempus, Bergen, NL

Casemore Kirkeby Gallery Status, San Francisco, US

FOAM Fotografie Museum Blanco, Amsterdam
Unseen Photo Fair Kristof De Clercq gallery, Amsterdam
Kristof De Clercq Gallery Ghent, BE
Purdy Hicks Gallery London, UK

Unseen Photo Fair Kristof De Clercq gallery, Amsterdam
Kousei-In Sequester in Collotypes, Kyoto, JAP

2014 - 2006
Wetering Galerie Amsterdam
Cultuurcentrum Hasselt Hasselt, BE
Alt. +1000 High Altitude, Rossiniere, CH
FOAM 3h Maintained Ground, Amsterdam
Natuur Museum Groningen Portretten, Groningen, NL

Group Exhibitions

Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie Kunsthalle Mannheim, Mannheim, DL

Pier 24 Photography Looking Forward, San Francisco, US (Mrch-Dec)
Into Nature Art Biennale Bargerveen, Drenthe, NL (July-Oct)
Shanghai Centre of Photography Prix Pictet Award, Shanghai, CH (Sep-Oct)
Fondazione Sozzani Prix Pictet Award, Milan, IT ((Jun-Aug)

Le lieu unique On Earth, Nantes, FR
Project space on the inside In Search of the Miraculous, Amsterdam
EPFL ArtLab Prix Pictet Award, Lausanne, CH
Annet Gelink Gallery New Reproductions, Amsterdam
De Pont Pictures from Another Wall, Tilburg, NL
FOAM On Earth, Amsterdam
Mouravieff-Apostol Museum Prix Pictet Award, Moscow, RUS
Luma Westbau Prix Pictet Award, Zurich, CH

Hillside Forum Prix Pictet Award, Tokyo, JP
Victoria & Albert Museum Prix Pictet Award, London, UK
Fotomuseum Den Haag La Soupe de Daguerre, Den Haag, NL
Les Rencontre d' Arles On Earth, Atelier des Forges, Arles, FR
Pier 24 Photography Looking Back, San Francisco, US
Out of Sight Two man standing. Part 2, Antwerp, BE

FOAM Works from the Foam Collection, Amsterdam, NL
Huize Fraenkendael The Image of a Private Collection, Amsterdam, NL
Victoria & Albert Museum Into the Woods: Trees in Photography, London, UK

Aperture Foundation Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, New York, US
Museum für Moderne Kunst Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, Frankfurt, DE
The Photographers Gallery Deutsche Börse Photography Prize,  London, UK
Garage Rotterdam How to disappear completely, Rotterdam, NL
Pier 24 Photography The Grain of the Present, San Francisco, US

The Hague Museum of Photography Nacht ontwaakt, Den Haag, NL
Kranenburgh Museum Black. From charcoal to high-res, Bergen, NL
The Library Project Phototropism, Dublin, IE
Dubai Photo Exhibition Dubai, UAE
Stedelijk Museum Addition, schenking Piet & Marieke Sanders, Amsterdam, NL

FoMu Antwerpen My Flat Land: on photography and landscape, Antwerp, BE
Stedelijk Museum The Best Dutch Book Designs 2014, Amsterdam, NL
Espace Vessy, Glaciers en péril & Alt.+1000, Vessey, CH

Musee des-Beaux-Arts L’Art, c'est le livre, Le Locle, CH
GEM Museum of Contemporary Art Fotoverhalen, Den Haag, NL
Kristof de Clercq Gallery Ghent, BE
Stedelijk Museum De Best Verzorgde Boeken, Amsterdam, NL

Huis Marseille, Museum for Photography The Rediscovery of the World, Amsterdam, NL
Museum Kranenburgh Wonder, Bergen, NL
Wetering Galerie The last Picture Show, Amsterdam, NL

Noorderlicht 'Pays/Paysage Land/Landscape Pays/Paysage (duo w. Rob Nypels), Groningen, NL

Foam Amsterdam Pop in, Amsterdam, NL
Wetering Gallery (duo w. Wijnanda De Roo), Amsterdam, NL

DZ Bank Frankfurt A Touch of Dutch, Frankfurt, DE
Nederlands Fotomuseum Rotterdam Quickscan #01, Rotterdam, NL
Central Museum Utrecht In your Face, Utrecht, NL
25th Nadežda Petroviæ Memorial Possibilities of Choice, Ĉaĉak, SRB

GEM Museum of Contemporary Art Still lives, Den Haag, NL
Gallery Lacen I spy with my little eye ( w Marijn Akkermans, Wafae Ahalouch), Paris, FR

Museum de Fundatie Collection Isala Klinieken, Zwolle, NL
Wetering Galerie Drawings and photographs, Amsterdam, NL
Rencontres de la Photographie d'Arles Dutch selection Nuit d' Europe, Arles, FR
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Descubrimientos PHE, Madrid, ES
TENT. Rotterdam La Luna Piena, Rotterdam, NL

CBK Rotterdam Macht van de Nacht, Rotterdam, NL
Loods 6 De Bagagehal, De Salon, Amsterdam, NL
Historic Museum Rotterdam Inspiratie Rotterdam, Rotterdam, NL
Resy Muijsers Contemporary Art Gallery Tilburg, NL

GEM - Museum of Cont. Art Met Stip, icm Fonds BKVB, ( my Urban Landscapes) Den Haag, NL

Fotomuseum Den Haag De Donkere Camera ( 3-man show w Dirk Braeckman, Michael Ackerman), Den Haag, NL
Amsterdam Art Fair 12 portretten voor de Haagse Schouwburg, Amsterdam, NL

Photofestival Naarden Civilians in Uniform, Naarden, NL
B92-REX Civilians in Uniform, Belgrade, SRB

Noorderlicht Fotomanifestatie satellite program, Groningen, NL
Bertha - Karl Leubsdorf Gallery Think one way, New York, US


Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Pier24 Photography, San Francisco
Kranenburgh Museum, Bergen, NL
Huis Marseille - Museum for Photography, Amsterdam
Kunstmuseum Den Haag
Fotocollectie Universiteit Leiden
FOAM, Amsterdam
The McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco
Museum for Photography, Seoul
De Brauw Collection, Amsterdam
Neuflize Vie ABN AMRO, Paris
Collectie min van Buitenlandse Zaken
Isala Kunst Collectie, Zwolle
ING Collection, Amsterdam
Rabo Kunstcollectie
and various private collectors

Related activities

Chico Hot Springs Portfolio Review Reviewer and Speaker, Montana US 2021
The Mondriaan Fund Advisory committee, Amsterdam 2020
Ecole Supérieure CEPV Visiting lecturer and workshop, Vevey CH 2020
Victoria & Albert Museum Prix Pictet Artists in Conversation, London 2019
Ecole Supérieure CEPV Visiting lecturer and workshop, Vevey CH 2019
Skinnerboox Book Award Jury, Jesi IT 2019
Hartfort NY photography MFA Visiting lecturer, Berlin 2019
Gerrit Rietveld Academie Visiting lecturer, Amsterdam 2018
Museo San Telmo Lecture and Workshop, San Sebastian ES, 2018
Ecole Supérieure CEPV Visiting lecturer + workshop, Vevey CH 2018
California College o/t Arts Lecture: Larry Sultan Visiting Program. San Francisco 2017
De Donkere Kamer Artist talk, Brugge, Belgium 2017
Fotodok In conversation with Rob Hornstra. Utrecht 2017
The Photographers' Gallery in conversation with Anna Dannemann. London 2017
Ecole Supérieure CEPV Visiting lecturer / workshop, Vevey CH 2017
Centraal Museum Artist Talk on Cragie Horsfield, Utrecht, NL 2017
Hartfort NY photography MFA Visiting lecturer, Berlin 2016
AKI School of Arts External examiner, Eindhoven, NL 2016
Photobook Melbourne Gallery Artist talk, Melbourne 2016
FOAM Amsterdam Lecture ‘Sensing the Landscape’ 2016
De Donkere Kamer Artist talk, Antwerp 2016
UNSEEN Photo fair ‘Premiere Talk’ with Kim Knoppers, Amsterdam 2015
Minerva Art Academy Visiting lecturer, Groningen 2015
De Donkere Kamer Artist talk, Rotterdam 2013



De lage landen 'Het zijn en het bestaan' S. Vankersschaever (Dutch) Feb 2021
De Standaard 'Absolute Stilte' S. Vanthuyne (Dutch) Dec 2020
Conscientious 'The Living Mountain' J. Colberg Aug 2020
Collector Daily 'Awoiska van der Molen, The Living Mountain' L. Knoblauch Aug 2020
De Gids, 'Zwart' H.M. van den Brink (Dutch) Dec 2020
Photobookstore.uk 'The Living Mountain' R. Orrantia June 2020
Conscientious 'The print, the book, the screen' J. Colberg June 2020
Punctum Magazine 'The Living Mountain' M. Hammer June 2020
Trouw 'Beeldboek' C.Baart June 2020
De Witte Raaf 'De volledige blikk', Essay A. Mulder (Dutch) Nov 2019
The Guardian 'Prix Pictet 2019 shortlist, photo essay' 5.7.2019
See All This 'De wereld als je studio'  2019 (Dutch)
NRC ’Plekken die de zintuigen niet bevuilen’ Tracy Metz (Dutch) 1.2.2019
Het Parool 'Ik ben op zoek naar een oerstaat' Kees Keijer  (Dutch)7.3.2019
Unseen Platform 'A day with Awoiska van der Molen' 2019
NY Times Magazine  'The Voyages Issue' Sept 2018
Hyperallergic 'Photographers Among the Trees, from Steichen to Bae Bien-U' 2018 (online)
Frankfurter Rundschau 'Die Dunkelheit und manchmal das Leuchten' June 2017
The Guardian Sean O' Hagan: 'The top 10 photography exhibitions of 2017' Dec 2017
De Morgen Ewoud Ceulemans: 'Mijn stemming maakt het werk' June 2017
De Volkskrant 'Lixenberg en van der Molen genomineerd' Merel Bem March 2017
The Guardian Sean O' Hagan: '...the Deutsche Börse photography prize' March 2017 
De Standaard ‘Oorverdovend stille landschappen' Stefan Vanthuyne June 2016
Photomonitor Review of exhibition at Purdy Hicks Gallery, Ollie Gapper March 2016
H ART ‘De intensiteit en stilte van plekken in foto’s vervat’ Sofie Crabbe June 2016 
See All This '10 hoogtepunten van Awoiska uit 2016 jaar' No.3 2016
Documentum The Instagram Series, Fall Line Press 2016  
Financial Times 'Snapshot': Blanco by Awoiska van der Molen. Jan 2016  
The Independent Magazine 'In the Frame' 5.3.2016
Het Parool ’Geraakt door de geest van het landschap’ J.P. Ekker 19.3.2016  
De Volkskrant ‘Donker en zwart, zwart en donker’ Jeanne Prisser 16.2.2016  
NRC 'In Nederland zijn teveel prikkels' Daan van Lent 2016  
Unseen Magazine, Sean O’Hagan: ‘What is photography?’ 2015  
NRC ‘De verschrikking van de natuur’ Rianne v Dijck 13.8.2015
Conscientious 'Sequester' Jörg Colberg 2014
The Guardian, Sean O’Hagan: 'Bewitched by blackness...’ 2014
Photobookstore Magazine, Rodrigo Orrantia 'Sequester' 2014
The Great Leap Sideways, 'Phosphorescence' Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa 2014
De Witte Raaf, E.J. van Alphen: 'Time saturation..' Essay 2014
Dagblad Trouw 'Verzinken in de natuur' J. de Wolf. 07.01.2014
Scrapped Magazine Fine art magazine, NY 2013 
Dagblad vh Noorden 'De overweldigende kracht van het landschap', I. Pietersma 2012  
'5' . 5 different artists - by Studio Pure Beograd 2011
P/f magazine Portfolio #3 Edie Peters 2010  

'Confinement' Prix Pictet, London, UK 2020
'Hope' Award catalogue Prix Pictet, Londong, UK 2019
'Photographers Looking at Photographs - Pilara Foundation Collection'. Pier24, San Francisco 2020
'Into the Woods: Trees in Photography’ Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK 2019
‘Failed Images: Photography and its Counter-Practices’  E.J. van Alphen, Leiden 2019
Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize London, UK 2017
The Grain of the Present Pier 24 Photography, Text by Kim Beil. San Francisco 2017
Object Onder / Object Below Sanders Collection, Pieter & Marieke Sanders, Amsterdam 2015
Hariban Award 2014 Collotype printed, Kyoto
The Marseillaise collection catalogue Fotomuseum Huis Marseille 2014
Fotoverhalen collection catalogue, Fotomusem Den Haag 2014
Alt+1000 High Altitude catalogue, by Nathalie Herschdorfer 2011 
Hyeres 26th International Festival Photography catalogue, Raphaelle Stopin 2011  
Quickscan #01 Nederlands Fotomuseum Rotterdam, Frits Gierstberg 2010
De laatste fotograaf? AKV/St. Joost, Breda 2009  


Short film-column initiated by Joep de Boer
Camera: Joep de Boer
Sound: Tom Polkamp
Noordrijn-Westfalen, Germany 2015


In 2014 Awoiska van der Molen was the first recipient of the Japanese Hariban Award and was invited to Kyoto. Here she collaborated with master craftsmen of the Benrido Collotype Atelier to produce collotype prints of eight of her works. The result was exhibited in a former samurai residence: Kousei-in. One set of 8 collotype prints has been acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.






Foam Fotomuseum visits Awoiska van der Molen at her studio while she is preparing for the solo exhibition 'Blanco' in January 2016 ( Dutch spoken).