Exactitudes | Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek → Interview

Exactitudes is made up of exact and attitude. Can you tell us a little bit more about your practice, please?

WE call our series Exactitudes: a contraction of exact and attitude. By registering our subjects in an identical framework, with similar poses and a strictly observed dress code, we strive to provide an almost scientific, anthropological record of people’s attempts to distinguish themselves from others by assuming a group identity. The apparent contradiction between individuality and uniformity is, however, taken to such extremes in an arresting objective-looking photographic viewpoint and stylistic analysis that the artistic aspect clearly dominates the purely documentary element. We just hunt for look and meanings.

Is everyone an exactitude? Or how does one become one?

Not everyone can be classified, maybe 20 % can end up in an Exactitude.
We just looks freshly at certain similarities in looks depending on the place or commission.

How many series are there up to date and are you establishing new ones on a regular basis?

There are 136 series now. We make series on a regular base, but mind you its quite intense work. We actually meet all those people, invite them to come to studio, and get them involved in the project. Obviously the portrayed people will be taken care of also after shoot, int terms of sending them the picture and keep them informed about the whereabouts of the project.

Your work operates on an archival method, which becomes stronger through the accumulation over time. Will/can there ever be a stop?

The project stop when we think it time to stop, not that the world stop ‘exactituning’. The archival method was a part of the concept of the project from the beginning, we take that part very seriously. Apart from the content we feel that there enormous beauty in the formal repetition of the work.
in other words the look of the archive!

Your collection of exactitudes species works as a time document. As the beginning of your practice was almost 20 years ago, did you by now, re-visit any of the places to document the changes?

Since Rotterdam is the starting point of the collection and also the home base for our artistic practice the only place where we experience the actual re-visit over and over again is Rotterdam. We there rest there is actual no re-visit, and that is fine.

Is every exactitude a self-initiative or how does a project come together?

Pure self initiave in the beginning, but quite soon there where commision.
And it stayed that way nicely combined.

How extensively are you planning a new species?

Some of the characteristics of some social groups are so strong, or so subcultural based that you can anticipate on making a series of those groups very a few many years. The rest is the absolute moment of the commission.

Will there always be exactitudes?


Why do you always choose the same format?

We have a difficult relationship with change, change is good and otherwise
we do not like change at all.

In term of the format, as said we strive for the formal beauty of repetitions, which in a certain way puts us in a dutch art tradiotion. The Nul movement with the great hero Jan van Schoonhoven.

From a collectors point of view, does it only makes sense to buy a series or do they also work by themselves?

It’s either one or a lot or all, like a few themes happend.

Are exactitudes always humans? Or does for instance in the sense of Bernd und Hilla Becher – architecture work as well?

The typologies of the Bechers are KING.
Exactitudes should stick to the people of the kingdom

You covered the trains of the TGV with images of exactitudes, the Dutch embassy in Berlin and your work has been exhibited across the world. What’s next

A secret still, but its gonna be huge.

Exactitudes | Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek
01 / 09