He photographed television pictures, for instance, and blew up the images by projecting them onto photo paper with a slide projector. In , he took part in the Prijs Jonge Belgische Schilderkunst [Young Belgian Painting Prize] with a series of photos referring to surveillance images, and he was selected. During that period, his main theme was the mass media and how those images reached us, among others through the internet.
Only around did he change his focus to concentrate on making pictures of reality, be it a reality that poses as a set. Danckaert's reasoned approach to photography, especially concerning composition, leads to aesthetic images that are far from sterile — he allows too much intuition into his work for that.
He is constantly searching for sites, viz. His method is invariably as follows: he stays in city somewhere on this planet for two weeks, and every day wanders aimlessly through the streets, without a preconceived plan, but focused on the everyday space in a stern and concentrated approach. Or he just takes the underground and gets off somewhere, anywhere. Sometimes he walks the streets hours at a stretch without taking a single picture.
In his own words: "There is always an interaction between the surprises that reality presents me with and the patterns and structures that I have in mind. Most definitely, my method includes something like a preconception, even a concept; yet at the same time there is always something unpredictable — compare it to free-jazz musicians who find each other while they are playing, and take leads from the others. In that sense, my work is musical. Don't forget that music is essentially abstract, whereas photography is exactly the opposite.
Photography is probably the most concrete of art forms, because it always creates photos of things in a particular location. In music, however, that question is not asked; music is about rhythms and colours and forms. Artists, students and scientists intervene in a typical urban hub: the shopping mall. They show what research in, with and about the arts means for our society. With artistic interventions, lectures, debates, laboratory demonstrations and a major festive event we throw ARIA into the midst of urban life on 4, 5 and 6 March What is art capable of in this commercial hub; what can art do in the city and in society?
On Saturday 5 March the artist's issue 'Bert Danckaert: i. On this occasion, Bert Danckaert will give a speech. A selection from his work will be on show during the three-day event. Further information, including the time of the presentation, will follow. Please keep an eye on our website and Facebook account: www. Since the mid-nineties he has practised as a photographer and he has exhibited, both solo and in group exhibitions in Belgium and elsewhere.
In , his first book, Make Sense! Besides his artistic activities, Bert Danckaert also reports on photography for several newspapers and magazines. In , on the occasion of his first solo exhibition at the Roberto Polo Gallery in Brussels, the complete work Simple Present Lannoo was published, covering 18 cities in 5 continents.
Simultaneously, the prose book De extra's was published by EPO. In contrast with photographers such as Andreas Gursky and Jeff Wall, Bert Danckaert has until now presented his photos in fairly small formats, for two reasons. Firstly, he has chosen to refer to a documentary tradition in his work; that type of photos is usually fairly small. Secondly, he considers it important for viewers to build a physical relationship with his work, according to Danckaert "in order to almost attain the intimacy of a book.
You have to approach those images to be able to see them. In works by Wall and Gursky, on the other hand, the show value is immense.
I really love their work, but I think that the subdued, reduced and abstract character of my work would not be served well by spectacular formats. The smaller photos are printed in 60 x 80 cm [about 25 x 30 in. For Danckaert, it refers to the interpretation of reality in which photography speaks 'in other words'.
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But i. Indeed, he shoots them as a casual passer-by. Yet these encounters do lead to compelling, aesthetic images. Abbreviations are always more or less cryptic.
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They are, as it were, visual abbreviations of a larger reality that can be captured in a small frame. Without the probing look necessary to read them on a multi-interpretable level, they remain unambiguous. With that look, they rise to become meta-photography, which is what makes them so unique.
Patrick Auwelaert is editor of Kunsttijdschrift Vlaanderen, editor of Passage. He writes review, articles and essays on literature, music, visual arts, film and graphic design. That earned him a nomination to membership of the distinguished Magnum Photo agency. Almost thirty years on, he again documents political revolution, the breakdown of a social utopia and its impact on ordinary people in Cuba. Also this time around, the timing is meticulous: just before De Keyzer arrived on the Caribbean island in January , President Obama had announced an improvement in American-Cuban relations.
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The result is a sometimes disturbing portrait of a country in transition, hesitating between the promise of economic growth, the temptations of Capitalism, and the fear of losing its identity as well as its traditions. Info: www. Cuba, the struggle, through the lens of photographer Carl de Keyzer Just before the island becomes an ordinary country: 'Cuba, la lucha'. The photographer gladly records this repetitive history of collapsing systems. De Keyzer recognised the long queue for almost free Coppelia ice cream from the old Soviet Union where he was in and But that is really Soviet-like, and you can see that the whole system has been exported to Cuba.
Fidel did not have much of a say in that. He recognises how people fend off things, and defend themselves; how the country evolves and how the leader might be embarrassed. First there was the Soviet Union. Then God, Inc. Cuba, la lucha may be another 'moment before the flood'.
But no customers.
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The picture I took there is not my best, but just look at that tattooed Neanderthal hanging around. But I think Obama's speech did not come out of the blue. You do not build something like this in a year; they knew. But when Obama spoke his words 'Todos somos Americanos', I thought for a moment: shit, I've missed my chance.
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It is a frozen country. The Soviet Union was in better shape in than Cuba is now.
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It is a weather-beaten country, as is Communism. The standard of education is high, though. But accommodation is horrible. Che did not know the first thing about economy. Now there is this book. But la lucha "also the name of a chain of DIY stores where you can buy wallpaper and cement" does not just show old-timers.
Actually he only wanted to look inside. He did not want anything too 'in-your-face'. And it has, certainly in health care. I could not get access to any hospital. The rich occupants left the keys with the drivers and caretakers and shouted: "We'll be back in six months! If you invest, you will get a new Venice there.
Three months were enough for the following idea: "It was a crime to introduce Communism in Cuba. Although I am aware of the advantages of the system, this should be a splendid island, and now, after 56 years, it needs to be rebuilt completely. I am against dictators and Batista was corrupt and needed to go. But sometimes, like now in the case of the Middle East, you may wonder if it might not have been better to suffer Mubarak just a bit longer and to have a smoother transition without a revolution.
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That also goes for Cuba. There are wonderful books about the campo by Ernesto Bazan. But nobody saw the man playing the piano in a hacienda, against a background of threadbare chairs, the cruise ship in the harbour and the book market at the Havana fort where you can find a Dostoyevsky novel for 1 peso. For that, we needed De Keyzer's eyes in Cuba.
Cuba, la lucha, Lannoo, p. Now it is Cuba's turn, at the pivotal moment between Communism and western Capitalism. On 17 December , the American President Barack Obama announced in a speech that, after 55 years of enmity, he wanted to reach out a hand to Cuba, rather than push it over the edge. A few days later, De Keyzer landed in Havana; he stayed for three months.
He captured the country at the pivotal moment between Communism and western Capitalism. Indeed, when political restraints are relaxed, the resilience of citizens really becomes clear. Now, a few days before Obama's historical visit to Cuba, and the first public performance of The Rolling Stones in Havana, his photo book is published.
He is an eyewitness of the course of history.