Art Souterrain


Jan Banning


Jan Banning is a Dutch photographer based in Utrecht. Rooted in both art and journalism, his work focuses on the power of government and the abuses thereof. He has produced a series on the long-term consequences of war and on the world of government bureaucracy. He has published several books, and his work has been shown in museums and galleries and featured in international magazines and newspapers.




The series Bureaucratics is a comparative study comprised of 50 photographs representing the governments of various countries. Using a typological approach reminiscent of the work of German photographer August Sander, the series borders on a documentary study. The photos, though similar to one another on a formal level, show the similarities and differences in bureaucratic environments around the world. During his travels, Banning photographed government employees in Bolivia, China, France, India, Libya, Russia, the United States and Yemen. The employees are shown seated behind their desks and appear to greet the spectator just as they would the citizens of their State. The photos, at once official and absurd in tone, upon close inspection reveal numerous details that offer insight into the country, social status and identity of the employees.




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