In his work Ellert Haitjema investigates a vigorous language of forms whose origins lie not in aesthetics, but in the urge to survive, from which it derives its beauty.
Haitjema is fascinated by the inventiveness with which people get by when little is available. For years he has been recording, with his camera, their temporary shelters, makeshift repairs and mysterious objects adapted to specific needs. This often takes place during his travels to distant places, but it may also simply occur as he walks around his own neighborhood.
Initially the photographs were for his own use, as models and sources of inspiration for his sculptures. In Haphazard he combines these with his own work, in a dialogue full of visual rhyming and plays on words, free of any hierarchy or even a hint as to whether the image is his own work or an object photographed by him. That distinction is removed in the photo-interventions. Elaborating on visual elements suggested by the photographs themselves, Haitjema subjects them to a number of treatments. By folding the photographs, placing them in water or covering them with plates of glass, he turns them into three-dimensional objects which he then photographs once again. The result is a two-dimensional image which resists careless observation due to its inconsistencies.
'Keen observation' and 'reckless thinking': these are key concepts in Haitjema's art.