Dirk Braeckman is a Belgian artist
Episode 165: Dirk Braeckman is one of the most singular voices in photography that I have had the pleasure to speak with. He has been hugely influential on several generations of photographers in both both Belgium, his home country and abroad.
I first encountered Dirk’s work through his eponymous book with Roma Publications. I remember vividly seeing the cover on a table at a fair and being sucked into its void. I remember opening it and sifting through the charcoal chiaroscuro images. I was perplexed as to when they were made and felt the pull of something nebulous int he work. I saw the obvious interest in the body, but was taken also by the use of flash and the settings in which Braeckman is interested in.
In the work, there was also an interesting lack of information. There was no title. There was no real context from which to latch onto. i was forced to reckon simply with the images in front of me and to assess their drive or meaning on my own terms. In this, the work is extremely open. Though it all feels consistent as Braeckman’s work, one is able to wade in and adjust their eyes to the dimly lit rooms to assess their relation to the work. The loop is open.
Speaking with Dirk was a bucket list moment for me personally. He was extremely open to my questions and was able to fill in details and allowed my speculations about how I view the work to be part of the larger conversation without moving past my inquiry. Dirk’s kindness in walking me through his process was wonderful.
Please try to go and see his exhibition Fernweh at Zeno X Gallery to see his work (the best way) in person if you are in Antwerp until April 24th. You will have to view by appointment. Please tune into this episode, it will remain high on my personal moments doing these interviews.