For his second solo exhibition at Art: Concept, Geert Goiris presents a new series of photographs that mix landscapes, portraits, unknown places and subterranean worlds. Freeing the subject from its literal interpretation, Geert Goiris’s pieces manage to somehow act on the senses and perception of every individual. The spectator looses all cultural benchmarks and is brought to see and understand forms according to his own scheme of thought.
At first sight, Geert Goiris’s photographs could be qualified as abstract because they don’t seem to have any points of reference. Where have they been taken from ? What do we see ? Their shapes and contents aren’t always immediately recognizable. Space, temporality, line of horizon, top, bottom: everything seems to be thrown into question. Indeed, some of these images seem to have given up their identity and refuse to be in relation with the reality that we hold for normal. Abstraction here not only exists because the spectator has trouble reading the image, but also because the artist questions and tries to reverse the effect that is normally produced by the observation of a photograph. In fact, as Roland Barthes explains in La Chambre claire, notes sur la photographie (1) by describing the expression: «it has occurred», photography usually represents something that has existed; whereas painting and cinema may sometimes represent images of the past, but their creative process also holds the possibility of turning these practices into artistic media capable of heralding things that have yet to come. To turn photography into an almost prophetic medium is what Geert Goiris is trying to accomplish, namely with his photographs of clouds. Recalling John Ruskin’s writings (2): clouds find themselves endowed with psychological aspects that allow them to communicate with those who observe them.
DARKCLOUD isn’t merely an exhibition of pictures taken from unusual angles of strangely framed scenarios. It highlights Geert Goiris’s will to displace our relation to signs and their designata and re-think our concepts and usual thought processes. Both photographer and a great traveler, Geert Goiris wishes to disorient us so that our eyes, brain, faith, bad faith, silence, cosmos, subject, object matters and history find themselves confronted to a bizarre relationship established between themselves and photography.
As Henri Van Lier explains in his book called Philosophie de la Photographie (3): «Far from relating to a given reality, photographic images question reality and the way it is put on show. Therefore, if photography can be considered as a spectator’s mirror, it is a mirror that reflects a sort of fiction of reality, interrogating us on the way in which we cast our own eyes and question ourselves on the things that surround us.» …Images produced by Geert Goiris have the ability to displace the values that rule our way of perceiving reality, which may be just the way in which we are forced to see it, electing certain things as worth seeing whilst rejecting others.
Be it an architectural landscape or a mineral one, the image of a closed up space or a sensitive portrait, a picture by Geert Goiris is always based on the strangeness of an instant and on the fragility of our thoughts. The observation of an image becomes more intense when it contains something extraordinary or unexpected. Such images constitute the structure of «traumatic realism»; a notion that the artist has been developing in his work. Geert Goiris achieves this by creating a world between dream and reality, a mysterious and almost mystical environment that contains the dramatic accents that incite us to lean down closer over an unusual reality and on the potential destabilizing strangeness of anything drawn out of its context.
(3) see Henri Van Lier, Philosophie de la Photographie, In les Cahiers de la Photographie, 1983.
until 13 October 2012
Fragment 12, 2012
Courtesy of Art: Concept, Paris