Dirk Braeckman Photo: Lieven Herreman

Dirk Braeckman to Represent Belgium at 2017 Venice Biennale

Flemish Minister for Culture Sven Gatz has announced that artist Dirk Braeckman will represent Belgium at the Fifty-Seventh Venice Biennale, which will be held from May 13 to November 26 in 2017. Eva Wittocx, senior curator at M–Museum Leuven, will curate the pavilion.

The Ghent-based photographer, who is best known for his photographs of interiors, portraits, and landscapes, will respond to the mass production and consumption of images in a new series of monumental photographs that he will create for the biennial. The new body of works will also be exhibited at the BOZAR in Brussels and M–Museum Leuven in 2018.

Braeckman said, “Participating in the Venice Biennale feels like a victory for Belgian photography, which has never had a broad international platform within the visual arts. Nowadays, everyone is capable of taking good photographs and people are only really interested in the end results. I oppose this trend by emphasizing a process-centered exploration. My photos are like unexploded bombs, charged and full of pent-up energy.”

Born in Eeklo in 1958, Braeckman studied photography and film at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten. In 1982, he cofounded the gallery and photography magazine XYZ with Carl De Keyzer, and from 1998 to 2002 he was a lecturer at the National Hoger Instituut voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp. Braeckman ’s works can be found in the public collections of Brussels’s Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent’s Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, and Strasbourg’s Musée d'Art Contemporain et Moderne.

In the March 2012 issue of Artforum, Jos Van den Bergh wrote that Braeckman “refuses to use photography as a medium to capture or interpret reality. Although his subjects or models come straight out of his environment, the result seems totally unfamiliar . . . His images seem to tell more about what you don’t see than they do about what is depicted.”