Sjoerd Houben

No Pleasure Cruise

‘No Pleasure Cruise’ is a photographic body of work by Sjoerd Houben, in which he questions how the medium itself might deal with abstract concepts and the way these concepts find their way back into the image. ‘No Pleasure Cruise’ is set up according to Houben’s firm belief in happiness as a rhizomatic concept. There is no cosmic order in which a thing is in its perfect instantiation, there is not one perfect way of getting things done. There is not one state of being of a certain subject, it’s fluid, it’s subjective.

The work evolves in an associative and organic manner; connecting various subjects that at first sight don’t seem to overlap. The subjects are chosen from a range of Houben’s relations, some intimate and close, others more distant and removed. He doesn’t focus on the relationship with his subjects, but uses a sense of tension as a means of forming connections between images.

No pleasure cruise
sjoerd houben
shirt no pleasure
Sjoerd Houben

No Muscle Can Stretch Itself

In his project "No Muscle Can Stretch Itself", Sjoerd Houben follows men and women in their passion for bodybuilding. This project is a visual investigation into the blurring and perpetuation of underlying gender roles and stereotypes within the subculture. Bodybuilders, male or female, strive for the same goal: to attain muscular, heavily sculpted bodies through training and discipline, and to display their physique during a competition.

While male bodybuilding often emphasizes the differences between genders, seeing muscles as an expression of masculinity and power, female bodybuilding challenges the idea of women as the weaker gender; the female bodybuilder embodies strength and defies imposed gender roles simply by participating.

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