Born: 1977 Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Profession: Artist and Teacher
Lives & works in: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
“Milan Gies’s series Composition is a realistic view of the human body. In his approach to the human body, Milan focuses on the physical and mental traces that life leaves behind. The central question is: to what extent can you see traumatic experiences reflected in the way someone looks or moves? For his photo series, he has built up a long-term relationship with homeless men in and around Amsterdam, whom he photographed in his studio. The work shows Milan’s artistic qualities and his respectful and deeply human view of those who dwell in the margins of our society.
Milan’s photographs show painful human experiences without sensationalizing them; it is this understated and person-centered approach that gives Composition such a great expressiveness. The more than 50,000 visitors to the exhibition spent a long time reflecting on the photo series and have repeatedly expressed their emotional experience when seeing the photos. This testifies not only to the quality of his photographic work, but also to Milan’s ability to make people look at our society and our fellow humans in a different way. At a time when ‘success’ and productivity seem to be the highest achievable goals, people who don’t live up to this ideal are often ignored or disapproved of. Milan moves against the current by seeing and acknowledging especially these people in all their humanity. Thanks to Milan, they are not erased from history.” – Nathalie Maciesza, contemporary art curator at the Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam