Martin Luijendijk contemporary artist


The photographs for this project were taken in the glasshouse horticultural area called the ‘Westland’ during the period between 1999 and 2002.

The GROWTH project consists of the following parts: time, production, and man.

In an overview (overall picture) an endless film (loop) shows the conditioned growth of crops in a glasshouse. In accelerated motion the film shows the complete growing seasons of three crops consecutively: from bare soil, via planting and harvesting to the removal of the crop until, again, only bare soil remains. Presented as a film loop, the process of growth and the succession of seasons seems to repeat itself endlessly.


The series consists of a varied row of separate, matter-of-fact photographs: an auction hall, germinating seeds, the glass city seen from the air, assimilation lighting, DNA fingerprints, a soil profile, drones (for pollination), et cetera. In a clear and open-minded way, this highly diverse series provides an insight into the modern system of production.


The glasshouse horticultural sector is based on individual companies. Typically, the private house and the business premises are built side by side. Commercial and private affairs mix in the work space, ‘the barn’. This situation is mostly found in traditional small-scale horticultural firms, as these tend to have a less strict separation of commercial and private affairs than large-scale modern companies do. The result is a series of interior photographs of situations encountered. In one image, each photograph tells something of the company and of the people that run it. While man himself is not portrayed, he is indirectly present through the traces left in the place where life and work are interwoven.

The title ‘GROWTH’ refers to the three parts of the project. Obviously, it refers to the growth of the crops in a conditioned environment, as pictured by the part entitled time. The production part refers to the increase of production per company through upscaling, use of more productive varieties and increasingly controllable growing conditions, resulting in the economic growth of the entire glasshouse horticultural sector. Individual companies have to expand to survive. The choice is between growing and quitting. As small, traditional companies make way for large, modern companies, situations as depicted in the man part will eventually disappear.