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Jacqueline Hassink: BMW, The Table of Power (1993-1995)

Work / Photography

Photography: The Table of Power sees Jacqueline Hassink document boardrooms

If there’s anything Mad Men has taught us, it’s that boardrooms are strange, dark places in which testosterone-flinging, paper rustling, finger-drumming displays of frustration and passive aggression can play out undisturbed by manners or general morality. A whole bunch of other stuff happens too, of course, in these spaces designed for the use of those who make the world go round, creating a weird cocktail of practicality, manipulation, ambition and desperation which seems to echo around boardroom tables long after they have emptied.

In the early 1990s Jacqueline Hassink made these liminal spaces into the subject of her photographic study with series The Table of Power, which documented the boardrooms of some of the biggest and most powerful companies in the world, making for a somewhat odd portrait of capitalism and people in power.

So much so, in fact, that Jacqueline decided to revisit the idea post-economic crisis to attempt to charter the way the spaces have changed over the years. The answer? Not an awful lot, actually – the chairs are still made of either nasty synthetic fabric or mahogany polished to a blinding shine, and flipcharts have been upgraded to laptops and projectors, but the underlying sense of unease remains in the wake of all those who have held meetings deep in their depths. They’re still fascinating, too. Time to entertain daydreams about sitting like a cut-marble statue at one end of the table whilst Don Draper glowers at you angrily from the other.

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Jacqueline Hassink: BNP Paribas, The Table of Power 2 (2009-2011)

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Jacqueline Hassink: Nestlé, The Table of Power (1993-1995)

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Jacqueline Hassink: Santander, Table of Power 2 (2009-2011)

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Jacqueline Hassink: Mercedes-Benz, Table of Power (1993-1995)

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Jacqueline Hassink: BP, Table of Power 2 (2009-2011)