January 22, 2018 - M Leuven - Dirk Braeckman
January 22, 2018

M Leuven / BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts

Dirk Braeckman, F.V.-U.D.-17#1, 2017. © Dirk Braeckman. Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp.

Dirk Braeckman
February 2–April 29, 2018


Opening at BOZAR Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 7pm and at M – Museum Leuven Thursday, February 1, 8pm

Last year Dirk Braeckman represented Belgium at the 57th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. The Biennale drew around 615,000 visitors, which made it the most important international platform to date for Braeckman’s work. The next chapter will be his double exhibition at M-Museum Leuven and BOZAR Brussels.

These new exhibitions will complement one another and highlight individual aspects of the artist’s multifaceted practice. Braeckman will show 20 works at BOZAR of a scale in keeping with the architecture of Victor Horta. The focus in this case will be on his monumental prints—chiefly work from Venice, consisting of new work and a selection of earlier images. M, meanwhile, will concentrate on new work. Spread over two of the museum’s galleries, the artist will show examples of his smaller-scale work on paper. His experiments with new media will also feature, including a large projection tailored to M.

Dirk Braeckman’s photographic works bring a stillness to today’s constant flow of images. Using analogue techniques, he has developed a visual language of his own that focuses on the act of viewing and reflects on the status of the image. Braeckman explores the boundaries of his medium and challenges photographic conventions. The camera’s flash reflects off the surface of the subject, the texture of walls, curtains, carpets and posters. His images show anonymous subjects from his immediate surroundings, evoking an open story. The artist shows empty rooms in which time seems to stand still, elements of interchangeable interiors or human figures that stand only for presence—all separate from any specific identity, place, time or emotion.

Dirk Braeckman never works with fixed themes or series—his oeuvre forms a continuum. Each exhibition shows a cross-section of his artistic practice at that particular time. Curator Eva Wittocx: "Braeckman’s artistic practice nevertheless remains recognizable throughout the presentation: the rephotographing of existing images, for instance, and the visualization of interiors, undefined spaces, the naked body and landscapes."

Braeckman creates his images in the darkroom. Experiment is crucial to both their registration by the camera and their subsequent processing. The exposure, manipulation and development of negative and photographic paper consistently results in new and unique images. Graininess, spots, cropping and flattening of perspective resist an immediate reading or interpretation of his work. Over and underexposure and working in grey tones heighten the iconic character of his images.

Curator: Eva Wittocx

Flemish Culture Minister Sven Gatz appointed Dirk Braeckman and Eva Wittocx to represent Belgium at the Venice Biennale 2017. The homecoming exhibitions are a continuation of that assignment.

Dirk Braeckman (1958) has spent the past 25 years gradually developing an extensive portfolio. Working with the medium of photography, he occupies a distinctive place within the visual arts. He has taken part in numerous exhibitions, such as solo shows at M—Museum Leuven, Le Bal in Paris, BOZAR in Brussels, De Appel in Amsterdam, S.M.A.K. (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Ghent. Recent gallery shows include Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp, Thomas Fischer Gallery in Berlin and RoseGallery in Santa Monica. Braeckman’s works are part of private and public collections around the world, including in FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais, Sammlung Goetz, FNAC Paris or Musée d’Art Contemporain et Moderne in Strasbourg. Dirk Braeckman is represented by Zeno X Gallery Antwerp.

A new publication
M – Museum Leuven and König Books in London are publishing a new book to accompany the exhibition—a selection of work from Dirk Braeckman’s practice, with the emphasis on his recent creations. It includes 167 images and three texts in English by Douglas Fogle, Hubertus von Amelunxen and Eva Wittocx.

M Leuven
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