The world revealed to us by Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt is not cheerful. Although he doesn’t travel around the planet to testify to the pains of the world, and he doesn’t indulge a fascination for war, drama and blood, we can clearly see that he has made no deals with the world of privilege.
He speaks to us of ourselves. Of our children, our days, our solitude, our outbursts of elation, our fatigue, of death that lurks, the curious way in which the Earth turns, the light that strangely cuts out our silhouettes on the world’s absurdity. Interior/exterior landscape, we no longer know, but the gaze is intense and we enter deeply into the world depicted.
The form solidly supports the subject. He tells in images, with an exemplary economy of means, what long speeches would not manage to say. He allows us to see a world that is not entirely level, offering us a personal geometry of it.
In Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt’s images, dreams are never far away. He photographs a daydream; we are free to associate our own with it.
Rhythm, harmony, counterpoint and dissonance are at the heart of his preoccupations. It is perhaps this that leads to the strange impression that his photographs do not date. It is perhaps this which makes the juxtaposition of images taken thirty years apart possible. It is this constancy of harmonic composition that gives the oeuvre a definitive coherence.
Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt’s gaze is sharp and penetrating, grave, tender, mysterious, sometimes funny. It is the gaze of a man who looks at the world by finding in it more questions than responses. Between smile and anxiety, it is a unique gaze.
A last word, from the photographer himself, who has always known that his images travel on “the wings of chance and doubt”.’ Francine Deroudille (extract from Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt, Photo Poche, no. 110)
About Michel Vanden Eeckhoud:
Born in 1947 in Brussels. Lives and works in Brussels.
Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt has been a member of VU’ since it was founded in 1986. Among his personal books: Zoologies (Delpire, 1982), Les Travaux et les jours (Actes Sud, 1996), Chiens (Marval, 1997), Duo (Nathan/Delpire, 2000), Photo Poche no. 110 (Actes Sud, 2006), Doux-amer (Delpire, 2013), Bittersweet (Kehrer, 2013). He has had solo exhibitions at, amongst others, the following galleries and museums Delpire, VU’, Camera Obscura (Paris), Box (Brussels), Leica Gallery (Tokyo, Solms), International Center of Photography (New York), Musée de l’Élysée (Lausanne), galerie du Théâtre (Gap), Filature (Mulhouse), Musée de la Photographie (Charleroi), Botanique (Brussels) and the Centro Andaluz de la Fotografia (Almeria).
Venue: Atelier des forges, les Rencontres d’Arles, Arles 13104
Open: 1st July - 22nd September 2013
View the entire programme of the Rencontres d’Arles here: http://www.rencontres-arles.com