Amsterdam Blues bears its name well. There's a lot of grit to Aram Tanis' work, one that you'd be hard pressed to find in the cloroxed city of Amsterdam these days. It shows the bizarre and erotic which have since the 1990s given way to a more hygienic debauchery. Tanis' voyeuristic collection of Nan Goldin-ish vignettes rings true with nostalgia for a time when dirty was dirty, not staged for tourists; what his lens has captured leaves us wondering if such a disheveled Amsterdam can indeed still be found.
Tanis' talent also lies in juxtaposition; matching compositions, contrasting subjects, marriages sometimes witty and sometimes simply esthetically intriguing.
Amsterdam Blues is a bewitching vision of discombobulated times gone by, and Tanis plays well with the beauty of the ugly and uncomfortable. In that way Amsterdam Blues is cohesive and eyebrow-raising - and with a little imagination, you can almost hear the punk rock soundtrack.
Aram Tanis is open towards the undiscriminating beauty residing in all things, also those things seen as obscene, that make us the tragic, cultural beings that we are. This is what Tanis has captured in this book while going through his hometown Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Blues has been exhibited at Amsterdam Fund for The Arts (Amsterdam / NL), Tetterode (Amsterdam / NL), Museum of Contemporary Art Erarta (St. Petersburg / RU) and MuzyQ (Amsterdam / NL).