Dirk Braeckman: Dirk Braeckman
Gallery Baton is pleased to announce a new solo exhibition by the Belgian artist Dirk Braeckman (b. 1958, photographer) from April 16 to May 16 at its Apgujeong space.
Photography’s recent growth and strong presence in the art market is noteworthy. Many top-tier museums across the world have opened photography departments, and prominent art fairs such as Paris Photo in France and UNSEEN in the Netherlands are successfully hosting major art events specifically focusing on photography. This exhibition of the work of Dirk Braeckman is his first showcase in Asia, and reflects contemporary photographic trends, utilising the qualities unique to the medium, while at the same time revealing Braeckman’s special darkroom practice.
Dirk Braeckman was born in Eeklo, Belgium in 1958 and studied photography and film. He has been working not only as an artist but also as a lecturer at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent. Since 1999, Braeckman has shown with Zeno X, widely regarded as one of the world’s leading gallery. He has participated in many solo and group exhibitions worldwide, and his works can be found in well-known public collections.
The elements in Braeckman’s work are dark, tenuous, and suggestive. The photographs have a distinctive quality—gray-toned images of spaces swept by time and experience—depicting empty corridors, abandoned hotels, curtains, chandeliers, and female nudes. Braeckman does not intentionally seek out a place or a subject to photograph. His images are discovered in his everyday life and are developed through darkroom experiments with light, brushes and sponges, and even dust, as if carving out the images with these tools. The places Braeckman chooses as backgrounds—a corridor, an abandoned hotel room, a wall, a corner of a room—present an altered idea of a 'non-place'. His depictions aredifferent from conventional concepts ofnon-place, suggesting that there have been interactions and experiences between people.
This idea of 'non-place', whichhas been explored by masters of modern photography, from Benhard and Hilla Becher to Lewis Balts, borrows the concept of French cultural critic Marc Augé : “non-place is space created out of today’s function-oriented architecture, such as shopping malls, airports, and parking-lots, that are uniform and characterless, lacking a sense of reality and human sensibility.” On the other hand, Braeckman’s altered non-places, through such elements as walls that suggest the traces of time, chairs that once seemingly were occupied by someone, and abandoned places that are greeted only by wind-blown curtains—invite us to ask what might have happened there. Braeckman, through the medium of photography, addresses the real world, and simultaneously negates the weight of time and space with an atmospheric gray tone. He presents objects in relatively strong tones in order to make them the focus of the image, carefully controlling the formulation, surface, and concentration of gray, while eliminating or blurring distracting elements to complete the work.