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

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

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, B
Purdy Hicks Gallery London

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

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

Group Exhibitions

Annet Gelink Gallery 'New Reproductions, Amsterdam
De Pont 'Pictures from Another Wall', Tilburg, NL
FOAM 'On Earth', Amsterdam
Mouravieff-Apostol Museum 'PrixPictet Award', Moscow
Luma Westbau 'Prix Pictet Award', Zurich

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

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


Aperture Foundation Deutsche Börse Photography Prize, New York
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

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
Dubai Photo Exhibition Dubai, UAE
Stedelijk Museum Adition, schenking Piet & Marieke Sanders  Amsterdam

FoMu Antwerpen My Flat Land: on photography and landscape, Antwerp
Stedelijk Museum The Best Dutch Book Designs 2014, Amsterdam
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, B
Stedelijk Museum De Best Verzorgde Boeken, Amsterdam

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

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

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

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

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

Museum de Fundatie Collection Isala Klinieken, Zwolle, NL
Wetering Galerie Drawings and photographs, Amsterdam
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

CBK Rotterdam Macht van de Nacht, Rotterdam
Loods 6 De Bagagehal, De Salon, Amsterdam
Historic Museum Rotterdam Inspiratie Rotterdam, Rotterdam
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

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

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


Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Pier24 Photography, San Francisco
Kranenburgh Museum, Bergen, NL
Huis Marseille - Museum for Photography, Amsterdam
Fotomuseum Den Haag
FOAM, Amsterdam
The McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco
Museum for Photography, Seoul
De Brauw Collection, Amsterdam
Neuflize Vie ABN AMRO, Paris
Isala Kunst collectie, Zwolle
ING Collection, Amsterdam
Rabobank Art Collection
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and various private collectors

Related activities

The Mondriaan Fund Advisory committee, Amsterdam 2020
Chico Hot Springs Portfolio Review Reviewer and Speaker, Montana US 2021
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


Collector Daily 'Awoiska van der Molen, The Living Mountain', L. Knoblauch 8.2020
Photobookstore.uk 'The Living Mountain'   R. Orrantia 6.2020
Conscientious 'The print, the book, the screen' J. Colberg, 6.2020
Punctum Magazine 'The Living Mountain' M. Hammer 6.2020

Trouw 'Beeldboek'. C.Baart 13.6.2020
De Witte Raaf 'De volledige blikk', Essay Arjen Mulder. 11.2019
The Guardian 'Prix Pictet 2019 shortlist, photo essay' 5.7.2019
See All This 'De wereld als je studio'  2019 (online, Dutch)
NRC ’Plekken die de zintuigen niet bevuilen’ Tracy Metz 1.2.2019
Het Parool 'Ik ben op zoek naar een oerstaat' Kees Keijer 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  
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' 5.3.16
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
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  

'Photographers Looking at Photographs - Pilara Foundation Collection'. Pier24 San Francisco 2020 (forthcoming)
'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 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).