Dirk Braeckman to represent Belgium at the 57th Venice Biennale
Dirk Braeckman: “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-centred exploration. My photos are like unexploded bombs, charged and full of pent-up energy.”
Dirk Braeckman will represent Belgium at the 57th Venice Biennale. His exhibition in the Belgian pavilion at Giardini will be curated by Eva Wittocx, with M – Museum Leuven as the organizing institution. After past editions featuring artists like Vincent Meessen, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Angel Vergara, Jef Geys, Éric Duyckaerts and Honoré d’O, Flemish Minister for Culture Sven Gatz has decided that Dirk Braeckman will now occupy the international stage in Venice.
In his enigmatic photographs, Dirk Braeckman creates a closed, isolated world in which tactility and texture, distance and intimacy are combined. His monumental photographs tell us nothing, yet they suggest entire stories. Braeckman reflects on the photographic image and challenges the medium’s illusions. He experiments in his creative process with different textures and materials, and explores effects such as over and under-exposure through a variety of printing techniques. Braeckman’s images transcend the moment of capture and reach beyond their frame. He finds the subjects for his photographic work in his immediate vicinity—often undefined places or spaces, preferably interior views.
Dirk Braeckman will create a new set of monumental photographs for the Biennale, tailoring their presentation to the architecture of the Belgian Pavilion. His selection of intriguing pictures will respond to the mass production and consumption of images. Pictures and slogans constantly demand our attention nowadays, whether on television, the internet or in the public space. Dirk Braeckman and curator Eva Wittocx will endeavour to create a sense of tranquillity in the Belgian pavilion, allowing visitors to focus their full attention on the images.
The new body of works that Braeckman is making for Venice will be presented in early 2018 at a double show at BOZAR in Brussels and M – Museum in Leuven.
Dirk Braeckman (1958) has taken part in numerous exhibitions both nationally and internationally. His works feature in major private and public collections worldwide. Several publications have also been devoted to his artistic practice and oeuvre. Braeckman’s work has been represented by Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp since 1999.
Eva Wittocx (1975) was appointed Senior Curator at M – Museum Leuven in 2009. M was inaugurated that year in a new building designed by Belgian architect Stéphane Beel, and presents both historical and contemporary art through a varied exhibition programme. M’s contemporary art program focuses on solo exhibitions by both emerging and established artists from Belgium and abroad. Eva Wittocx has curated exhibitions at the museum by Aglaia Konrad, Guy de Cointet, Peter Buggenhout, Markus Schinwald, Sarah Morris, Patrick Van Caeckenbergh, Mika Rottenberg, Sol LeWitt and others. She was previously a curator at S.M.A.K. in Ghent (1997–2006) and at the STUK Arts Centre in Leuven (2006–09).