In his project ’52 Weeks, 52 Cities’, developed exclusively for German museum Marta Herford, my brother Iwan Baan takes the spectator on a one-year photographic journey around the world. The accompanying book of the exhibition, published by Kehrer Verlag, was the first official collaboration between Iwan and Joachim Baan, a lovely project we are very fond of, with hopefully more to follow.
Always on the lookout for ingenious homes in unexpected places and outstanding construction projects. Süddeutsche Zeitung described the influence of Iwan: “our image of architecture like no other”. He has been working, very successfully, worldwide for architects including Rem Koolhas, Herzog & de Meuron, Toyo Ito or Zaha Hadid. A characteristic of his pictorial language is the engagement with the close relationship between human and architecture, between social use and the various spatial situations.
The exhibition 52 Week, 52 Cities features photographs of each week of last year, accompanied by personally spoken commentaries by Iwan. These are sensitive encounters with everyday and extraordinary places all over the globe which Iwan has put together to form an engaged commentary on human living and survival strategies. His documentation, for example, of a 45-storey, uncompleted skyscraper in Caracas occupied by around 750 families who are living “extra-legally” in a so-called “vertical slum” has become one of his best known projects. Here and elsewhere the boundaries between architecture documentation and the interpretation of social living spaces become blurred.
The list of locations Iwan visited in only one year is massive and reaches from Dallas, USA, to Larabanga, Northern Ghana, Allahabad, India and Setonomori, Japan; crossing all over the globe always on the lookout for frames to immortalise.