Project, 13.05.2017

Dirk Braeckman – Belgian Pavilion
Biennale di Venezia 2017

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Dirk Braeckman’s photographic works bring stillness to today’s constant flow of images and information. For the 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, the Belgian pavilion will be presenting a series of the artist’s monumental photographic prints with a grey-tone palette on baryta paper. Since the 1980s, Braeckman has explored the boundaries of the medium and challenged photographic conventions. Using analogue techniques, he has developed his own visual language that focuses on the act of viewing and reflects on the status of the image. His images show anonymous subjects from his immediate surroundings, evoking entirely open stories. Empty rooms in which time seems to stand still, elements of interchangeable interiors or human figures – all separate from any specific identity, place, time or emotion. Instead of instant gratification, Braeckman might even take years before developing a negative as he wants to approach them in a more distanced manner. Experimentation is crucial for both the registration by the camera and the subsequent processing: the artist essentially creates his images in the darkroom. Over- and underexposure, manipulation and development of the negative and photographic paper consistently result in new and unrepeatable images; grain, spots, cropping and flattening of perspective resist an immediate reading or interpretation of his work. Instead, they only hint at the underlying poetic potential.