Stil Leven




Marwan Magroun


In the early 2020s, cities around the world fall silent. The virus forces people into a lockdown. In the last month of 2020, the Kunsthal Rotterdam opened an exhibition of twelve photographs showing the impact of the pandemic. Six young, talented, and Rotterdam-based photographers show how the new virus radically affects our daily lives, commissioned by Stichting Droom en Daad. The photographers shed light on a different side of a city that seemed to have come to a standstill. Although created in Rotterdam, the photo series represented contemporary life in countless cities worldwide.

From the very first moment everyone was advised to stay home and at distance, the photographers went to work – only to put their cameras away again in May. Some photographers went out into the city, and others pointed their cameras to life at home. The assignment for the photographers was as follows: capture the – already – ‘historical’ situation in which we find ourselves in a series of ten photographs. All photographs are bundled in the photo book ‘Stil Leven – Still Life’, a permanent document visitors can browse through in the exhibition. Two pictures from each series are exhibited at the Kunsthal: twelve images that powerfully summarize how people – in this case from Rotterdam – deal with the pandemic.

Marwan Magroun decided to follow Rotterdammers in essential professions. In high-contrast black-and-white photos, meal delivery people with mouth masks and shelf stockers are at work. The back of their safety jacket displays the advice to keep at 1.5 meters distance. In Erasmus MC, beds are lined up in battle order, prepared by an employee to receive new patients.

After the exhibition, the complete series of photographs was included in the Rotterdam Municipal Archives.