leuven-antwerp,-belgium

Dirk Braeckman, Prague # 1b / 2011, black-and-white photograph, 47 1/4 x 70 7/8". Zeno X Gallery.

Dirk Braeckman

M – Museum Leuven/Zeno X Gallery

Dirk Braeckman, Prague # 1b / 2011, black-and-white photograph, 47 1/4 x 70 7/8". Zeno X Gallery.

Recently a Swedish curator told me that he learned a lot about Belgium by looking at Dirk Braeckman’s work. If this is the case, there must be something rotten in the state of Belgium. His dark, gloomy photographs provoke an uncanny feeling. It is almost never clear what it is you see in the gray murk, and if you think you do know, a split second later you’ll start to doubt it. With shows in Leuven and Antwerp and the publication of a vast monograph on his work, Braeckman seemed to be Belgium’s unavoidable artist this autumn. And that’s more than justified, since he is one of the very few who has created his own style with a recognizable signature. He 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.

Braeckman credits Luc Sante’s book Evidence (1992),

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