Text by Charlotte Cotton (2007)

Jacqueline Hassink’s photographs have a seeming effortless simplicity to them. In part, the success of her artwork comes from how readily we intuit that she commands the best vantage point upon her chosen subjects, and overcomes all technical obstacles, in order that her subjects appear entirely revealed to us. No matter how hard won or logistically complex the process of gaining access and being atune to the sites of her photographs may be, Hassink’s projects belie their ambitious process and bring us directly to position of surveyor or investigator of the concepts that she outlines for us.

Jacqueline Hassink is well known within the photography arena as having created bodies of work, brilliantly designed as books and exhibition prints that center on the theme of economic power. The Table of Power (1993-1995), Banks (1995-1996), Female Power Stations: Queen Bees (1996-2000) and Mindscapes (1998-2003) are all visual, graphic and sociological mappings of the axes of global economic structures. Within this selection of projects, as we find with Arab Domains (2005-2006), the site of the table is important; a device for mapping the hierarchical structures that it reveals are where Hassink observes and records the ‘unseen’ forces and characters that shape the global economy.

In her mid. twenties, Hassink trained as a sculptor and began to develop bodies of work that played with perspective and space. Significantly, Hassink used the form and symbolism of tables in her practice; making, photographing and merging positions and structures of tables to analyze social organization. As artistic vocation often develops, Hassink gradually distilled her process, becoming a ‘photographer’ by default; a creative, imaginative, but clear communicator of the issues and structures that preoccupy her.

Contemporary art photography is the terrain that Jacqueline Hassink’s photographs, nimbly, navigate. Her work carries the double force of this art medium; of pragmatics and creativity. Hassink’s projects involve an enormous amount of preparation in the approaches to essentially closed and inaccessible sites, preparation of travel, visas, scheduling that are easily toppled by glitches and accidents along the way. Her method for each body of work of using the same medium format camera and film stock, using only available light are all devices that speak of the need for a sense of order and standardization but also of the importance of a clear method for production. This ‘method’ can be read equally as devices to overcome the practical hurdles of realizing her global projects but also as a defining of the tight conceptual framework that his artist works within.

The pre-shooting process is then counter-pointed by the intense moment, invariably no longer than an hour, that Hassink gains access to the rooms of power. Hassink grasps the fleeting psychological state of seeing each space for the first time and creatively turns each into a map of the structures and personalities that have shaped them.

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