My art work is in national and international, private as well as corporate collections.

Selection: The Kodak archives USA, Polaroid Corporation photography collection, Bibliotheque National Paris Fr, Foreign photographers in Moravian Gallery Brno Cz. Collection Scheringa NL, Museum More Gorsel NL. Swinnen collection be, Andries collection be, Van Hoef collection nl, and many more personal and company collections.

My photographs are not assembled nor Photoshopped.

Photoshop is only used as a digital darkroom.

Copyright Theo Derksen - 2017



Arguments and analysis by Willem Jansen.

Three artists meet. They have been friends for a long time and have always appreciated each other’s qualities. They unite these individual qualities, stemming from different disciplines, and a Gesamtkunstwerk is the final result. The artists involved – photographer Theo Derksen, visual artist Jos Wigman and musician Ernst Jansz – don’t just exchange knowledge and skills; they reflect intensely on the significance of the work they will be creating together.  During the working process I was asked to participate as a curator to initiate the planning of a future exhibition. An exhibition that was finally to develop into a project/art event, in which the artistic presentation of the three artists would be showcased. At the same time it would also function as the venue for project-based activities around the exhibition-to-be. The first part of the essay below describes the way in which the artists collaborated with each other and the agreements that this led to. The second part is all about the ‘fine print’. It does not concern the legal details as described on the back of a formal contract. It does, however, concern further considerations with regards to this project: notes relating to an agreement.

 THE AGREEMENT (and what preceded) >>>>>>>




 - Hangzhou. China 2015 -


During the day during my work trip in Hangzhou in 2015, I made test recordings to try out my ideas for my possible Grand Canal project (Hangzhou -Beying).

At night I always walked inside shopping centers in Hangzhou and saw the women in life size commercial posters, blasting in headlights. With my photography shrugged their faces out of context, a detail from the large billboards. When I saw the first images hit the resulting image of these "women" me deeply. The unexpected beauty "heavenly" of angels who came from "earthly" commercial. This was serendipity. The typical colors arose partly because I photographed s' my angels at night and only those sat for a light had this heavenly radiance. During the day it did not work! From the outset I have recordings of my angels in a round frame captured a circle as the circular image is common in Chinese art). An homage to where I met them, Hangzhou!


 on going project.


Is the act of creating a facade which when looked at from the outside appears happy, serene, and safe, but still, its purpose is to draw us close, take as much of our money as they can, and give us and our children a false sense of security, joy and happiness. Taming the world to make it all safe, clean, and completely similar to a theme park. To remove the sharp edges and darkness that is life.

Jean Baudrillard. A French philo-sopher wrote: he terms are generally used in a negative way, and they imply homogenization of consumption, merchandising, and emotional labor. They can be used more broadly to describe the pro -cesses of stripping a real place or event of its original character and repackaging it in a sanitized format.

References to anything negative are removed, and the facts are watered down with the intent of making the subject more pleasant and easily grasped. In the case of places, this typically means replacing what has grown organically over time with an idealized and tourist-friendly veneer reminiscent of the “Main Street, U.S.A.” attractions at Disney theme parks.”



Iconoclasm is the destruction of religious icons and other images or monuments for religious or political motives. In time, the word, usually in the adjectival form, has also come to refer to aggressive statements or actions against any well-established status quo. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes.


Drs Kitty van Loo wrote on this work: "Scratches and cracks admittedly reduce the function of the portrait depicted faces but also add an intensification of perception. They make you alert for much more than the mapped displays. They evoke associations and create new relationships with the reality of perception.". Photography made among others in : Cairo, Alexandrie, Arles, Beying.



special project Musica Sacra 2015 Maastricht.

commisioned work

Text | W.Janssen


Approaching Nowhere  luidt de titel van de expositie van  het werk van Theo Derksen. Het nowhere proberen te benaderen klinkt alsof er een doel is, namelijk  het vinden van nergens. De vraag is of we daartoe in staat zijn. Het nergens is in dit geval misschien vooral een bruikbaar concept. Een idee dus wat ons helpt om niet  vooropgezet in een bepaalde tijd op een bepaalde plaats/ergens uit te willen  komen.


De fotograaf Theo Derksen is op weg gegaan zonder dat hij volledig gepland had om op een vastgestelde tijd ergens(op een bestemde plaats) aan te willen komen.  Hij heeft gekozen voor het avontuur en laat zich onderweg  verrassen door wat hij tegenkomt. Mensen, dingen, een stad, landschap, enz..  Dat alles heeft hij vastgelegd in 36 foto’s.


Als kunstenaar kan hij de beelden van wat hij is tegen gekomen, gebruiken om ons het nergens te laten zien.  In de spreekwoordelijke betekenis van het woord: je bent nergens meer, je voelt je verloren. Bijvoorbeeld in het desolate van het landschap, in de eenzaamheid van mensen, het vervreemdend effect van een gefotografeerd ding en zelfs van een hele stad.


Theo Derksen kiest er evenwel voor om zijn foto’s puur te tonen als resultaat van de door hem afgelegde weg. Niet meer en niet minder. Hij brengt de beelden samen in een leporello . Oorspronkelijk een zig-zag gevouwen boek, voor de tentoonstelling uitgewerkt tot een indrukwekkende installatie. De daarop getoonde foto’s verwijzen naar verhalen. Verhalen die de kijker zelf mag verzinnen.  Zo worden we uitgenodigd om met gebruik van de getoonde foto’s story telling te omhelzen als een dynamische manier van onderweg zijn. Ons laten verrassen door wat we tegenkomen zonder direct ergens naar op weg te zijn.  Onder het motto Approaching Nowhere leggen we beelden vast en vertellen we verhalen.




Principals, Incentive for architecture

The Netherlands Architecture is the national subsidy provider for projects in the fields of architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, interior architecture and related disciplines. The fund does not participate in construction, but promotes reflection and debate about architecture. Free University of Amsterdam, Architectural History Foundation (SAG). The aim of the Foundation Architecture (SAG) is to promote architectural historical research in general and in particular research into the history of architecture, urban design and landscape architecture as formulated in the research programs of the chair area Architectural History at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


communication concept   ZANDSTAD


- photographs by grid -



Principal Municipal Weert.


On the  map of Weert there was a grid layout. on the common ground a photographs had to be taken. The work was presented as a trypich.



- Versierde Weertenaren -



In collaboration with the photographer Jo Brunenberg


The assignment was to visualize art citizens of Weert who make themselves  look more attractive by adding extra items or images on there body. My concept was : from anonymous  to intimacy . Presentation form was a triptych with the  a self written context  of the "model". A book was published.




 During 4 years they exchange images, a painting and the reaction a photograph and the reaction a painting etc, etc.  A collaboration with photographer Theo Derksen and Marcel van Hoef

This whole project was aquired by Museum of Realisme.


Prof. Dr. Willem Elias wrote:" What they seek are not small differences, but many similarities. Not the nationalities or, still less, the regionaliteiten they are on the track. However, the agreements, the things that one encounters every-where, not to derfined spaces, men   laid  the foundation for understanding "Humanism", fascinates them. One could make almost mention the "universal" in the culture. Their quest fit into the structuralism of Claude Lévi-Strauss when it stated that there are recurring structures in the culture because culture results from the structures of the brains is.

Theo Derksen brings with it images of his world travels where no name is to stick, unless that man is created in space. This displacement is both soothing as confusing. "Where am I?" Terrifies if there is no reply. It reassures when humanitarian realizes that the whole world is our home. A book was designed by Theo Derksen and published by Museum Roermond


Commissioned work by a scholarship Counsel of Limburg.


The general opinion of the Limburgs landscape is a very romantic one, half-timbered houses, orchards and sloping hills. This is only a small part of Limburg . This has been generalized and branded for tourism. So redefining was an option.


Photo exhibition at the Holland Festival.

Curated by Prof. DR. Johan Swinnen and Ivo Ten Hove.


More than twenty world-renowned photo- graphers will show their work during the festival in the exhibition ATTACK!

Participants among others include: Nobuyoshi Araki, d Steve Hart, Amy Arbus en Duane Michals, Jean Baudrillardt, Theo Derksen, Bart Michielsen, .....On Theo Derksen work Swinnen wrote: "He is inspired by the many images from many countries. It has nothing to do with th equality of the images, there is always something that inspires him, in a positive or negative sense. He is extreme curious, brimming with talent and energy. He follows his heart, but is not so emotional that he forgets to think.



Prof. Dr. Johan Swinnen wrote: "His camera lens criss-crosses time, presenting us with a personal view of a changing scene. The picture invites us to feel a synchronized oneness with the photographer. We don’t worry too much about what is to the right or left of his camera’s frame. When the path between understanding and interest has been opened, that will happen at the moment we become aware of what is made visible. For example, when we are suddenly hit by a detail that we had overlooked or by a structural resemblance. Our gaze wanders over the photo…we don’t ask, “Which world is recorded here?” but “what is the difference between me and the man in the photo?” Often when reconsidered, another interpretation reflects our own. The two processes grow together. Photos interest us, primarily, because they stare back!


In the work of Theo Derksen, time after time, those portrayed find themselves at a decisive moment. On one side, having no hope of portraying their own individual qualities or peculiarities, on the other side, accepting the greater obligation of representing their background, social role and standing and their class.

They fix their eyes, somewhere out there, much further than the photographer, on something bigger and more important than he is interested in. Looking over Derksen’s shoulder we get a macabre feeling that we are the subject! It seems as if the models are trying to say something to us and posterity. Something about the daily struggle of the ‘little me’! Indeed, we are, forever, the subject.



Photographs in  collection


 These images are collected by  Jean Claude  Lemagny  for the BN


A publications after my first 10 years anniversary  (1993) on travel photography.These images are made Turkey, Egypt, Tunesia, Algeria and Maroc.


These series were inspired on the decisive moment (Cartier-Bresson)

A book was designed and published by Aterlier Blue.


Commisoned work.

A collaboration with the Poet Leo Herberghs.


The purpose was to give a subjective image of what Heerlen appears to be. My photo- graphs inspires Leo to  write a body of poetry inspired by my work. Both the photographs accompanied with the poem were printed and published


A random selection


Wandering through "gardens" in urban landscapes I took photographs without a concept. Trigger the moment, place and  the incident


A random selection


In 1997, 98, 99,  I was commissioned to portrait noteworthy inhabitants in a personal context or setting of Arcen Velden Lomm.

Peter van "t Hof was the coordinator.


Leon Frissen, the later governor of the Province of Limburg ask us to make an exhibition of these portraits for 3 years during the new-year reception.


Last month I rediscovered this series.

What you see are reproductions by camera of the original prints

I will scan them later for a book publiction.