In the late sixties, Pieter Laurens Mol (*1946 in Breda, Netherlands) embarked on a unique artistic career producing conceptual works in a variety of media: photography, painting, drawing, sculpture and installation. A substantial part of his early photographic oeuvre, dating from the seventies and eighties, consists of images with the inclusion of a self-staging artist. During the nineties the human figure gradually disappears from the scenery and there’s a shift noticeable to more known traditional genres such as landscape and still life, yet these images could equally be experienced asmetaphorically charged statements on the “condition humaine”. The photographs deal also with significant concepts such as “falling”, “loss” or the romantic topos of “searching”. Failure, both heroic and comical, characterises many of his works. As Mol himself says, art is about the quest to find pictures for an “extreme existence”. His “artistic life” represents such an existence, one which he invites the viewer to share, although the artist’s life is nothing but an image of man’s “creative life” per se. This creative life is based on physical (or other, higher) principles, which his works explore and poeticise. In doing so, the artist seems to rely on making use of the Surrealist method of combining as he develops his so-called “photo sculptures” that often refer to non-representability or rather the impossibility of depicting reality in pictures: words and images belong to separate systems of perception which always only refer, as substitutes or replacements, to a reality they themselves cannot embody (Magritte, 1967).

In general, the artist’s photographic aim is not to represent reality but rather to visualise ideas. Mol investigates the semantic conditions of pictorial projection, ironically playing with emotional projections in line with Bas Jan Ader’s “Romantic conceptualism” (Jörg Heiser). With a light twinkle in his eye, Mol is thus able to address the tension between performance or staging and the drama of great feelings. Sounding out the limits between the artistic and the everyday object, he also brings into play how museums, galleries and art critics define their aesthetic position. The classic contrast between Romantic inwardness and conceptual rationality can thus be seen to run through Mol’s works.

Pieter Laurens Mol is not interested in an art that sees itself simply as a platform for staging one’s own artistic subjectivity. On the contrary, he is devoted to looking at and reawakening the familiar – and doing so within art’s sheltered realm, in which the smallest adjustment can influence how life, the world and our own position in the great scheme of things are assumed.

Text: Birgit Kulmer.


Post no Arms on Mars Stop, Hidde van Seggelen Gallery, Hamburg (DE) Pieter Laurens Mol – Van Gogh, Van Goghmuseum, Amsterdam (NL) Code Carambole (with Kris Fierens), Annie Gentils Gallery, Antwerp (BE)
Red Lead Index, Galerie Parrotta Contemporary Art, Cologne (BE)
Selected Drawings, Galerie Parrotta Contemporary Art, Bonn (DE)


Wiegezang (voor Vincent), Vincent van Goghhuis, Zundert (NL)

Forty-Five Feathers fallen on a Field, Galerie Parrotta Contemporary Art, Stuttgart (DE) 


Passage Souterrain (Portraits of the Artist and His Family), Farideh Cadot Associés, Paris (FR)

Zucht zocht Zicht (Herinneringen aan Vincent), Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague (NL)


Farideh Cadot Associés, Paris (FR)


Dust That Never Sets, Galerie Triangle Bleu, Stavelot (BE)

Interest Generator, De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam (NL)


The Flyby, Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague (NL)


Method and Mode, Hidde van Seggelen, London (UK)

puu-puu-puu-tsjing-tsjing-tsjaf-tsjaf-tsjit, WE-Project Space, Brussels (BE)

La Salutation Bruxelloise, La Maison Dotremont, Brussels (BE)


Chant de Mars, Galerie Triangle Bleu, Stavelot (BE)

Lustre in the Dark (Celestial Studies, Reveries, Twilight Scenes and Nocturnes), Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague (NL)

Plug In #37 / One on One, Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (NL)


Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague (NL)

Several Short Films from the Seventies, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)


Root Out, Cast Up and Thrust Down, Galerie BowievanValen, Amsterdam (NL)


Seashore/Semaphore, Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague (NL)


Chambres Separées, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)

The Limit to Which Man can Reach Out into Space, Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam (NL)

Moedervlek, Kunsthandel Lambert Tegenbosch, Heusden (NL)

Moedervlek (1965-1975), Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)

Hook, Line and Sinker (collected editions: 1967-2002), Centrum voor Beeldende Kunst Dordrecht, Dordrecht (NL)


Imminent Tempest, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)


Obsidio Bredana, Breda’s Museum, Breda (NL)

Hollow Sorrow, Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, Diepenheim (NL)


Winter over Spring, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (IE)

Pathway Colours, Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam (NL)


Ferro Fever, “In het Kabinet”, Het Domein, Sittard (NL)


Lure of Thumb, Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam (NL)

Pulse and Orbit, Sean Kelly, New York (US)

Projects, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (US)


Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam (NL)


MIT List Visual Arts Center, Boston (US)

Centre Saidye Bronfman, Montreal (CA)

Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (US)

Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam (NL)

Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (US)


Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (NL)

Ferro Fever, Institute of Contemporary Art, Amsterdam (NL)

La Charge Utile, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (CH)

IVAM, Centre del Carme, Valencia (ES)

Pieter Laurens Mol, Zeichnungen, Galerie Franck & Schulte, Berlin (DE)


Once I Existed, Galerie Franck & Schulte, Berlin (DE)

Once I Existed, Louver Gallery, New York (US)

Selected Works: 1983-1992, L.A.Louver Inc., Venice (US)


Galleria Sperone, Rome (IT)


Galleria Mikkola & Rislakki, Helsinki (FI)

Louver Gallery, New York (US)

Galerie Cintrik, Antwerp (BE)


The Sanguine Surrender, a Tribute to Mars, Graeme Murray Gallery, Edinburgh (UK)

Migraine Meadow, Galleri Riis, Oslo (NO)

Portretten van de Waan 1983-1985, Cultureel Centrum De Beyerd, Breda (NL)

Internationaal Cultureel Centrum ICC, Antwerp (BE)


Kunstverein Hamburg, Hamburg (DE)

Le Musée de Valence, Valence (FR)

Galerie Nikki Diana Marquardt, Paris (FR)

Prenten en voorwerpen, Galerie De Expeditie, Amsterdam (NL)

Galerie Cintrik, Antwerp (BE)


Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (SE)

Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdsam (NL)


Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam (NL)

Galerie Cintrik, Antwerp (BE)


Kunstverein Bremerhaven, Bremerhaven (DE)

Portretten van de Waan 1983-1985, Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam (NL)

Travaux récents, Galerie Rivolta, Lausanne (CH)

Fotografien, Zeichnungen, Galerie Hartmut Beck, Erlangen (DE)

Raum 41 (with Bert Boogaard), Bonn (DE)


Galerie Helen van der Meij/ Paul Th. Andriesse, Amsterdam (NL)


Galerie Helen van der Meij, Amsterdam (NL)


Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (UK)

Kunsthalle Basel, Basel (CH)

Galerie Toni Gerber, Bern (CH)


Galerie Helen van der Meij, Amsterdam (NL)

Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart (DE)


Galerie Helen van der Meij, Amsterdam (NL)


Galerie Seriaal, Amsterdam (NL)

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL)

Deux Artistes de la Biennale (with Paul van Dijk), Institut Néerlandais, Paris (FR)


Galerie Lóa, Haarlem (NL)


Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (NL)


Scultura Italiana, In-Out Center, Amsterdam (NL)

Galerie Fignal, Amsterdam (NL)


In-Out Center, Amsterdam (NL)


Galerie 845, Amsterdam (NL)


Cultureel Centrum De Beyerd, Breda (NL)



Little Boy’s Luminous Legacies (new, clear, atomic narratives), 

Lothringer 13 Halle, Munich (DE)

Le Petit Cercle Bruxellois, Institut de Carton, Brussels (BE)


3 x 10, Galerie Triangle Bleu, Stavelot (BE)

zomertentoonstelling klein sculptuur, Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague (NL)


Le Grand Large: Territoire de la Pensée, Galerie Le Magasin de Papier, Mons (BE)

Veldwerk, Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, Diepenheim (NL)


00:00:01 A Split Second, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)

Lés Echos De La Nature, annex14 Raum Für Aktuelle Kunst, Zürich (CH)

Hoge Horizon. Bruegelland Vroeg 21e Eeuw, Stedelijk Museum Lier, Lier (BE)

As Exciting As We Can Make It: Ikon In The 1980s, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (UK)


One of a Kind, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)

Donatie Maurice van Valen, Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (NL)

Black Out – On the verge of the photographic, Parrotta Contemporary Art, Stuttgart (DE)


Absence # Presence, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)

Among The Leaves, (with Bas Jan Ader, Walter Dahn and Daan van Golden), Figge von Rosen Galerie, Cologne (DE)

Downside Up, Galerie Triangle Bleu, Stavelot (BE)

Colorific, Ecole des Arts de Braine-l’Alleud, Braine-l’Alleud (BE)

Porta Nigra, Hidde van Seggelen Gallery, London (UK)


Sculpture, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)

Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow, Hidde van Seggelen Gallery, London (UK)

All About Drawing, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Schiedam (NL)

Meer dan Tekenen, Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague (NL)

Origin(s), Maison Particulière, Brussels (BE)


Antigrav – Figuren des Schwebens und Schwindels, Parotta Contemporary Art, Stuttgart (DE)

His/Her Nature, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)

Tu me fais tourner la tête, Galerie Triangle Bleu, Stavelot (BE)

Het Onweerstaanbare Verlangen, Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague (NL)

Far from Turmoil, Mol’s Place, London (UK)


Past-Present-Future #2, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)


Faces/(Auto)Portraits, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)


Land, Sea and in the Air, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)

Icare, Salle Saint-Georges / Le Musée de l’Art wallon de la Ville de Liège, Liége (BE)


A Guest + a Host = a Ghost, Hedge House / Kasteel Wijlre, Wijlre (NL)

45 jaar N.I. / 2 aan 2 (Deel 1), Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague (NL)

Cross Reference, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)

Untitled Folly, Galerie Bowie van Valen, Amsterdam (NL)

The Gravity in Art, De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam (NL)


Le Cinéma des Photographes Néerlandais, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris (FR)

Raisons & Dérisions, Académie royale des Beaux-Arts de Liège, Liége (BE)

Drawing Room, Galerie RAM, Rotterdam (NL)


Chambres Séparées, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)

Crafting Space, SMART Project Space, Amsterdam (NL)


World Wide Flags – Drapeaux d’Artistes, Palais des Congrès, Liége (BE); Luxembourg (LU)

Bloemen van de Nieuwe Tijd / Nederlandse Bloemschilderkunst 1980-2000, Noordbrabants Museum, ’s-Hertogenbosch (NL)

De Anatomie van de Melancholie, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)


Paper, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)


Sense of Drawing, Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague (NL)

Manufacturing Meaning, The Adam Art Gallery / Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington (NZ)

Drawing Thinking, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin (IE)

Einerseits der Sterne wegen…, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Baden-Baden (DE)


Materiais de Construção / Building Materials, (with Markus Raetz and Michelangelo Pistoletto), Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Centro de Arte Moderna José de Azeredo Perdigão, Lisbon (PT)

Der Vogel Selbsterkenntnis, Tiroler Volksmuseum, Innsbruck (AT)

Self-Portraits, Galerie Tanya Rumpff, Haarlem (NL)


Lightness and Gravity, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (AU)

Amour & Obsession, Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent (BE)


Fotografische Momenten, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent (BE)

De Muze als Motor, De Beyerd, Breda (NL)

Ego Detox, Torch Gallery, Amsterdam (NL)


Blue, Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco (US)


De Ideale Plaats, Haags Centrum voor Actuele Kunst HCAK, The Hague (NL)

Tulpomania binnen en buiten, Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem (NL)

Het Grote Gedicht, De Grote Kerk, The Hague (NL)


Louver Gallery, New York (US)

Flora Photographica, Hayward Gallery, London (UK)

Fictions on the Self, Herter Art Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts (US)

Azur, Fondation Cartier, Jouy-en-Josas (FR)

Le Jardin de la Vierge, Espace 251 Nord, Brussels (BE)


Strata, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (FI); Tampere Art Museum, Tampere (FI)

Joy & Pain…, Institute of Contemporary Art, Amsterdam (NL)

Poesis, Aspects of contemporary poetic Activity, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (UK)


Nachtregels / Nightlines. Words without Thoughts Never to Heaven Go, Art in Utrecht’s historic inner city from sunset to sunrise, various sites in the city, Utrecht (NL)

Clemente, Dorner, Iglesias, Mol, Sarmento, Louver Gallery, New York (US)

L’Invitation au voyage, Art contemporain des Pays Bas / De uitnodiging tot de reis, Hedendaagse kunst uit Nederland, Vergadercentrum Albert Borschette, Brussels (BE)


Non-Sculpture, Galerie Barbara Farber, Amsterdam (NL)

Zelfportretten, Galerie Tanya Rumpff, Haarlem (NL)


Passages, Haags Centrum voor Actuele Kunst HCAK, The Hague (NL)


Universalis / Beelden van de Idee, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam (NL)

La Giovane Scultura Olandese, Palazzo Sagredo, Venice (IT)

Nobody’s Fools, De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam (NL)


Tekenen ’87, Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam (NL)

Art from Europe, The Tate Gallery, London (UK)

Déconstruction, Halles des Schaerbeek, Brussels (BE)

À l’heure de la Hollande / Out of Holland, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal (CA)

Century 87, Kunst van nu ontmoet Amsterdams verleden / Today’s Art face to face with Amsterdam’s Past, “Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder” + various other sites in the city, Amsterdam (NL)

Nachtvuur / Nightfire, De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam (NL)


Origins, Originality + Beyond, The Sixth Biennale of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (AU)

Portraits de scène à l’île aux phoques, Casa Frollo, Venice (IT)

Prospekt 86, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (DE)

Photography as Performance (message through object & picture), The Photographer’s Gallery, London (UK)


Das poetische ABC, Alles und noch viel mehr, Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern (CH)

Investigations, Place Saint-Lambert, Liège (BE)

Geënt op Bosch, Museum ‘t Kruithuis, ’s-Hertogenbosch (NL)

Wat Amsterdam betreft / As far as Amsterdam goes, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL)

Self-portrait in the age of photography. Photographers reflecting their own image, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne (CH); Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart (DE); Akademie der Künste, Berlin (DE); Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery, Houston (US); San Antonio Traves Park Plaza, San Antonio (US)


Onder invloed van Mercurius, Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam (NL)


Kunst mit Photographie, Nationalgalerie, Berlin (DE); Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (DE); Münchner Stadtmuseum, Munich (DE); Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Kiel (DE)

Gesignaleerd – Neue Kunst aus den Niederlanden, Kunsthalle zu Kiel (DE)


Momentbild-Künstlerphotographie, Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (DE)

Contemporary Art from the Netherlands, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (US); Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (CA); Iowa State University, Ames (US); La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla (US)

’60-’80, Attitudes, Concepts, Images, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL)

Zien en gezien worden. Fotografische zelfbespiegelingen in Nederland, Nijmeegs Museum “Commanderie van Sint-Jan”, Nijmegen (NL)


Instant fotografie, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL)


Nuova Immagine, Palazzo della Triennale, Galleria del Disegno, Milan (IT)

Beograd ’80, Exposition internationale des Arts plastiques, Musée d’Art Moderne, Belgrade (RS)

Het Eeuwige Tijdelijke, Dordrechts Museum, Dordrecht (NL)


Fotografie in Nederland 1940-1975, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL)

Europa 1979, Kunst der 80-er Jahre / Art of the Eighties, Stuttgart (DE)

Photographie als Kunst 1879-1979. Kunst als Photographie 1949-1979, Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck (AT); Neue Galerie am Wolfgang Gurlitt Museum, Linz (AT); Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz; Museum des XX. Jahrhunderts, Vienna (AT)

Mit Natur zu tun, To do with Nature, Pulchri Studio, The Hague (NL)

Unga Hollandäre, Tre aspekter på verkligheten, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm (SE)


Personal Worlds, Reality as Metaphor, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL)


X. Biennale de Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris (FR)

Nederlandse Kunstenaarsboeken, Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (NL)


7 Holländische Künstler, Kunstmuseum, Luzern (CH)

Hollandse Week, De Appel, Amsterdam (NL)

Brabant Biënnale, Cultureel Centrum De Beyerd, Breda (NL)


Visual Poetry International, De Doelen, Rotterdam (NL)

Internationale Visuele Poëzie, Cultureel Centrum ’t Hoogt, Utrecht (NL)


In-Out Center, Amsterdam (NL)


Reykjavik Art Festival, Galleri Súm, Reykjavik (IS)

In-Out Center, Amsterdam (NL)


Zomer-opstelling, Galerie “OREZ”, The Hague (NL)

Pläne und Projekte als Kunst, Kunsthalle, Bern (CH)