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M – Museum Leuven Announces Dirk Braeckman Exhibition

M – Museum Leuven presents an exhibition of one of Belgium’s leading artists, Dirk Braeckman (°1958) on view 6 October 2011–8 January 2012.

Braeckman has shown his work in various solo and group exhibitions in his home country and abroad. The exhibition at M comprises a selective overview of his extensive body of photographic works of the last 20 years, juxtaposed with new images, both still and moving. Special attention is paid to the rich textures and materials that endow his art with emphatic tactility and to the different media with which the artist experiments.

In each of his photographs, Dirk Braeckman builds a very subjective vision of reality in which objects, matter and representation are melted. Over the years, the disarming expressiveness of his early biographical (self-)portraits evolved into a more detached and intuitive approach of places filled with collective memories. Nowadays Braeckman captures dazzlingly pure images of anonymous sites, from which the physical presence of people is usually banned. The tonal warmth of the large, dark grey prints augments a gripping sense of enclosure, containment, and spatial vibrancy. The artist considers his pictures to be ‘impersonal choices’ which have imposed from space. He identifies them with a code, which refers to the locations where the shots were taken. Presented as monumental prints, the works claim their share of exhibition space with emphasis.

Though Braeckman’s pictures do not set out to tell a story, they suggest many. In that sense, his work is never definitive. It remains open beyond the moment, beyond the frame. At first glance, the depicted scenes are quite easily identifiable as everyday situations derived from Braeckman’s personal environment. But this is not what these images are about. Braeckman is interested in the image itself. In a variety of ways his art tests the limits of the medium. To temper an all too direct link to the motif, the artist generally prefers black-and white photography and a photo paper that renders a tactile effect to the picture’s surface. The presence of a blinding flashlight in many of his photographs leads to the inevitable disruption of the illusionary character of the presentation. On other occasions the pixel structure of the pictures enhances the impression of two-dimensionality. Braeckman’s deliberate use of blurring, extreme cutting and obscuring of the perspective make for an atmosphere of uncertainty and indeterminacy, sometimes even evolving into the realm of complete abstraction.

For a long time Dirk Braeckman only produced analogue photographs which he printed himself in his darkroom, but in recent years he has also explored digital photography. This new technique has introduced other approaches into his work, enabling him to experiment with different printing methods and to search the borders of monumental photography. Some of these recent, digitally produced works will also be on show in the exhibition.

Publication Dirk Braeckman
An English/Dutch publication is published by Roma Publications, with essays by Martin Germann and Dirk Lauwaert. 384 duotone & colour pages | At the M-shop

The exhibition will travel to De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam in 2012.
The artist is represented by Zeno X Gallery Antwerp,, and Robert Miller Gallery New York,

Parallel to this exhibition M also opens ‘One Show About One Drawing’ by Hans Demeulenaere and Marc Nagtzaam. More on

M has the support of the City of Leuven, Province Flemish-Brabant and the Flemish Community.

Image: Dirk Braeckman, “Alexia-11 Courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp.

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