Geert Goiris is a Belgian artist working in photography.
Episode 62: is a Belgian artist and educator working and teaching in Antwerp. I have followed his work for years and have had the pleasant chance to meet with him on several occasions in Antwerp. I believe we met in 2015 for a conference at FOMU about Villem Flusser, but I could be wrong.
We recorded this sometime in March or April. Everything is fuzzy right now. I remember that Covid-19 was already locking a good portion of the world down and everything felt completely chaotic and somewhat disorienting. In some ways, this atmosphere of death and disease, plague and postponement feels at home in Geert’s deceptively dark work. The title “World Without Us” (Roma, 2019) is as bleak as it sounds.
What has always drawn me to Geert’s work is the sense of science fiction merging into reality. His images of bleak landscapes, brutal architecture and abstract fragments of the world feel like a forewarning-there is something pressing and cinematic in feel that circulates within and I am drawn to the beauty of the work despite knowing that what occupies the frame is cataclysmic and eschatological in depth.
Geert and I spoke about his work and these concepts that infiltrate and eulogise the possibility of human extinction. It’s perhaps not quite as bleak as I make it sound. There are strong survivors in Geert’s world. They exhibit a rare fortitude in portraiture and provide a number of questions for us to ponder in the current political climate.
What I took away from the episode with Geert is something that I have taken away from a number of artists that dabble in the dark reaches of the mind-that they are often the more humorous of subjects to interview. They exhibit a calm and oddly charming affability that often feels out of place against the backdrop of their work.
I am reminded of the stories that I have heard about Emil Cioran and his apparently courageously funny personality. If you are familiar with his writings, you will understand that trying to pit someone like Cioran or Geert against such gaiety after reading or seeing their work is perplexing. I suspect that we can chalk that up to the calm that pervades a mind that can be ascribed as a seer of things much worse than what is in front of our faces.