Dirk Braeckman (°1958) has spent the past 25 years gradually developing an extensive portfolio. Working with the medium of photography, he occupies a distinctive place within the visual arts. He has taken part in numerous exhibitions, such as solo shows at M—Museum Leuven, Le Bal in Paris, BOZAR in Brussels, De Appel in Amsterdam, S.M.A.K. (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Ghent. Recent gallery shows include Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp, Thomas Fischer Gallery in Berlin and RoseGallery in Santa Monica. Braeckman’s works are part of private and public collections around the world, including in FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais, Sammlung Goetz, FNAC Paris or Musée d’Art Contemporain et Moderne in Strasbourg.
Braeckman creates his images in the darkroom. The unique prints he makes derive from negatives that the artist takes of his immediate surroundings and then places in his archive. Braeckman does not stage, but selects and frames via the eye of the lens. The matt gelatin silver prints in shades of grey on baryta paper are highly tactile and also fragile. Experiment is crucial to both their registration by the camera and their subsequent processing. The exposure, manipulation and development of negative and photographic paper consistently results in new and unique images. Graininess, spots, cropping and flattening of perspective resist an immediate reading or interpretation of his work. Over and underexposure and working in grey tones heighten the iconic character of his images.
“I use analogue methods, with the darkroom serving as my studio. I need that darkroom process: I find I like to focus more and more on a single image, or rather to continue working on the same one. I don’t want to make one image, then another, then yet another. I prefer to concentrate on a small number of elements and possibilities and to keep working on those. I like to stretch out the time. You can constantly question my images: there are new stories in them every time”