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CAFÉ NOIR: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF ED VAN DER ELSKEN

Anticipating the moody verité of much recent photography, ED VAN DER ELSKEN’s vignettes of left bank demimondaines, Tokyo Yakuza, and Soweto insurgents are gaining a new following. As the Dutch artist’s first full-scale retrospective goes on view at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, VINCE ALETTI examines van der Elsken’s autobiographical legacy.

Who am I to spout about life, love, happiness? About whether all’s right with the world, or whether it’s just a vale of tears, so store up your treasures for heaven. I think it’s unbelievable, fabulous, this life of ourseverything, the birds and the bees, the deer and the antelope, the spacious skies, the foggy dew, the rockabye babies. . . . My wife’s embrace, a landing on the moon, space, time, eternity. I don’t understand one damn thing about any of it, except that it’s enough to keep me in a constant delirium of delight, surprise, enthusiasm, despair,

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