Pierre Verger & Diana Blok in the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen

From 31 May, the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen presents two remarkable exhibitions: Pierre Verger – The One I Am Not and Diana Blok – I Challenge You To Love Me. Pierre Verger’s work is barely known to the wider public in the Netherlands. The exhibition The One I Am Not showcases a selection of his oeuvre, never before presented in this form in the Netherlands. Diana Blok’s exhibition is equally unique, offering an overview of her work from the past fifty years.

Looking at their work, Verger and Blok share few similarities. They each employ photography in vastly different ways. Pierre Verger (France, 1902 – Brazil, 1996) uses photography as a testimony of his encounters with people around the world. Additionally, it serves as homage to the steadfastness and beauty of cultures and religions of the African diaspora in various Latin American and Caribbean countries. His photos do not emphasize the strange or exotic, but rather are unpretentious in their portrayal of people and their culture. Diana Blok (Uruguay, 1952) focuses primarily on portraying individuals for whom gender, cultural identity and sexual preferences are not rigidly defined. On her travels to places such as Turkey, Brazil and the Caribbean, she manages to gain the trust of people who often live on the margins of society. Her images are confrontational yet balanced, both poetic and charged.

But they have more in common than one might assume based on their work alone. Both were born in a different country than where they ultimately found their homes. Verger, born in France, found his home in Bahia, Brazil. Blok, born in Uruguay, found her home in Amsterdam. Both traveled the world and naturally gained the trust of people and communities. Blok remains in contact with many of the individuals she has portrayed to this day. The work of both Pierre Verger and Diana Blok bears witness to a respectful, unbiased observation of the other.

Both exhibitions are on display until 6 October.

Cobra Museum for Modern Art
Sandbergplein 1