Flemish photographer and artist Dirk Braeckman (1958, Eeklo), whose pictures have previously been described as ‘unexploded bombs’, is to provide the Belgian submission for the 57th Venice Biennale, which runs from today, 13 May, to 26 November 2017.
Braeckman initially studied painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, later moving in the direction of photography. Although digitisation has gradually become part of his photography, the majority of his work is still analogue. His method involves taking photos almost at random, archiving the negatives for an incubation period which could be anything from weeks to years, then eventually selecting, developing, printing and presenting them in formats larger than life-size, sometimes creating multiple images from the same source. The works are characterised by experimentation with grey tones, different textures and flattening of perspective.
Read more about Braeckman's work in this yearbook article (€) by Hans Aarsman.
The Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is curated by Eva Wittocx, curator and temporary coordinator of Museum M in Leuven. For the selection process for the Belgian submission, which alternates between the Flemish and French communities, culture minister Sven Gatz decided to break with tradition, calling for proposals from duos consisting of an artist and a curator, to be judged by a jury. The collaboration between Wittocx and Braeckman began in 2001, when Braeckman had an exhibition at S.M.A.K., where Wittocx worked at the time, and there have been various joint efforts since. Wittocx describes the aim of their Biennale exhibition as invoking quiet introspection, providing a contrast with submissions from some other countries which aim for colourful spectacle.
The exhibition will also be accompanied by a publication on Braeckman’s work, containing 120 images and essays in English by Douglas Fogle and Hubertus von Amelunxen, as well as an interview between the artist and Eva Wittocx. There will be a follow-up exhibition in early 2018 at BOZAR in Brussels and Museum M in Leuven.
Further information on the exhibition appears at http://www.dirkbraeckmanvenice2017.com/.