4 July – 20 September 2009
Curator: Lorenzo Benedetti
This summer, De Vleeshal will be presenting an exhibition of new works by Rob Johannesma (1970, the Netherlands): 'Uitval uit een'.
The exhibition encompasses two large-scale photographic works and a video installation. Uitval uit een centres around manipulated images, entering into relationships with each other and with the public.
The largest of the photographic works (In Dark Trees) depicts a complex collage comprising press cuttings, a news still of the havoc wreaked by an Israeli air attack on Rafah and a (newspaper) photo of the 15th century painting John the Baptist in the Wilderness by Geertgen tot Sint Jans. Directly in front of this collage hangs a second, smaller photograph: Back Clack. This work reproduces the left-hand panel of In Dark Trees; only now the light incidences are different, and holes have been cut out of the photograph. The apertures offer a view of the larger photographic work, thus creating a veritable three-dimensional collage.
Interspersed between the photographs, videos recordings (made on Vancouver Island) show images of trees. These echo the trees featured in the pictorial elements of the photo collages: the images of Rafah and John the Baptist.
Johannesma entices visitors to reconstruct their own images by moving from one photo to another, by actually entering the collage. Viewing becomes an experience whereby images alternately take and lose shape. Thus a new landscape unfolds, emerging from the relationship between image and space. An enlarged, sharply focused newspaper photograph only reveals its pixels as we approach. The closer we get, the more the image blurs. It is as if the photograph disintegrates before our eyes: awakening us to the illusion of the image, the materials, the mounting. The small video recorders, on the other hand, force us to draw near. Only then can we see the images clearly, examine them, become absorbed – and so enter the landscape.
As did Johannesma’s earlier works, his Vleeshal exhibition shows images to be anything but transparent. In combining traditional painting with press photography, Johannesma reveals how representations of reality are – and always have been – construed. The newspaper photographs, incorporated in his colleges, and his video works are all explicitly edited and layered. Johannesma shows not only reality itself, but also the process of its representation and the materials used to do so to constitute the image – and so to acquire new meaning.