Since the mid-1980s, Dirk Braeckman (Belgium, 1958) has developed an impressive oeuvre consisting of photography and more recently video. Encountering images from his daily surroundings by chance, Braeckman’s large works suggest rather than explain. They offer a window into an unidentified reality: distant seascapes, deserted ballrooms, billowing curtains, antique wallpaper, or a blurred image of a nude. Atmosphere, cropping, light and texture are given central place in Braeckman’s poetic work.
Braeckman’s darkroom functions like a painter’s studio; an area for experimentation where the artist allows freedom, spontaneity and time to influence his creative process. Using tools and techniques to manipulate the negatives, the resulting works possess a tactility rarely seen in photography. Braeckman’s painterly approach stretches the limits of the medium. Working singularly with analog film for decades, Braeckman recently started incorporating digital photography. The digital medium helps him visualize his process and capture time in a new way in a larger variety of scale and format.
According to Braeckman, photography is the most subjective experience there is. Far from telling the truth, the medium offers a boundless illusion.
Often combining old and new photographs in presentations, the installation of an exhibition becomes an environment and is as important as the individual works by themselves.
The artist does not believe in a singular reality, one we can see, suggesting instead that we all live in a kind of dream world with photography being the more extreme version of such a dreamt environment. Braeckman’s photography can be considered as an ‘in -between’ phase in which all senses are switched off except for sight, letting the eyes absorb his world
and aiming for the viewer to be fully immersed in their atmospheres.
Braeckman’s images are marked by a tense stillness, timelessness and quietness, making the viewer forget about “real” time and instead creating a subjective, emotional experience. Underneath the surface of his seemingly serene images, the works are loaded with unknown implication. The Belgian-American writer Luc Sante aptly referred to Braeckman’s works as
‘time bombs ticking away’
GRIMM will present works by Dirk Braeckman in the inaugural group exhibition of our new gallery space in Tribeca, New York in January 2021. Braeckman’s first solo exhibition with the gallery is scheduled for 2022.
About the artist
Dirk Braeckman was born in 1958 in Eeklo (BE) and studied photography and film at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent (BE) from 1977 to 1981. Braeckman has taken part in numerous exhibitions including The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX (US); BOZAR, Brussels (BE); S.M.A.K., Ghent (BE); Fotohof, Salzburg (AT); Museum De Pont, Tilburg (NL); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (DE); Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro
(BR); Whitechapel Gallery, London (UK); WIELS, Brussels (BE) and Museum M, Leuven (BE). In 2017, Braeckman represented Belgium at the 57th Venice Biennale (IT).
Braeckman’s work is included in many institutional and private collections, such as Centraal Museum, Utrecht (NL); Fondation nationale d’art contemporain, Paris (FR); Kunstmuseum, The Hague (NL); M HKA,
Antwerp (BE); Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris (FR); Museum De Pont, Tilburg (NL); Royal Palace, Brussels (BE); Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels (BE); Sammlung Goetz, Munich (DE); and Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst S.M.A.K., Ghent (BE). GRIMM represents the artist in collaboration with Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp (BE) and Galerie Thomas Fischer in Berlin (DE).