8035 - Dirk Braeckman to represent Belgium at Venice Biennale 2017


The 57th Venice Biennale of Visual Arts will take place from 13 May until 26 November 2017. Belgium has in the Giardini, the center of the Biennial, a country pavilion that the Flemish Community can fill in a rotation with the French Community.

Dirk Braeckman was selected by a jury from a shortlist of five. The jury assessed the five proposals following an oral presentation of the artists and curators. All five proposals made a very strong impression despite they started from a very different artistic point of view.

Dirk Braeckman and curator Eva Wittocx convinced the jury with a strong personal story, in which the medium of photography is approached in a unique way. The experiment of Dirk Braeckman the process of photography and the techniques of darkroom give his pictures an exceptional pictorial quality. The work is very authentic and with a high sensuality. The arrangement in the Belgian pavilion, which lends itself perfectly for this strengthens the whole.

"With Dirk Braeckman and curator Eva Wittocx the jury made an excellent choice. [...] I am confident that Dirk Braeckman in Venice will catch eyes. I share the opinion of the jury that the Biennial of Braeckman comes at the right time to lift his career all the way to excellence." --Sven Gatz

As a starting point for a series of new works for the exhibition in the Belgian pavilion Dirk Braeckman wants to investigate a number of recent runs. The artist wishes to depart from strong images and tries to provide an answer to the daily mass production and consumption of images. In the public space, on television or on the internet we are showered with slogans and images that compete for our attention. Dirk Braeckman's images serve more as jammers in the regular flow of images.

The pavilion of Dirk Braeckman and Eve Wittocx will pursue the opposite: silence and attention, visual experience watching us focus, like moving or shifting the images.

Dirk Braeckman (b. 1958) in 1977 started the training photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. In his oeuvre Braeckman conducting a study on the medium of photography to create images that allow the traditional photographic means in question.

In analogous photographic process Braeckman deviates from conformal techniques and resources he uses in his darkroom resources such as brushes and sponges to spread the developer in stripes and planes across the paper. He often uses several sources to continue editing the surface. The spots that arise, act as a veil that sucks the viewer both to itself with evocative power and confronts him at the same time the plane. A concrete result of this process is that each photo is a unique piece and additionally obtains a special painterly dimension.

“I am very happy and surprised by the jury’s selection because there were five excellent candidates. The Belgian pavilion is the best space I could possibly imagine. I love the architecture of the building, the atmosphere as well as the Giardini and Venice itself. Participating in the Biennial feels like a victory for Belgian photography, which has never had a broad international platform within the visual arts. I’m convinced that a positive message need not be spectacular, but that there is a certain spectacle within the image itself, in its tranquillity and sacrality. My photos are like unexploded bombs, as Luc Sante once said, charged and full of pent-up energy. I am very much looking forward to sharing them with a broader audience. ” - Dirk, from his official Press Release