In his first solo exhibition at Spazio Nobile gallery (brussels, Sept 10 - Nov 14 2021), Antwerp-based photographer Frederik Vercruysse shares an extensive body of work which he developed over the course of the last two years.
With a background in architectural and editorial photography and having developed many photographic commissions for renowned companies in the field of fashion, architecture and design, Vercruysse's photographs are marked by their ethereal and contemplative character.
At the center of his show at Spazio Nobile is the series Window Stills. With many of the photographs comprised in this series having been taken during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, the window as a shield of protection that divides the inner from the outer world, but also allows an interaction between both is thematized. The interplay between looking at the world from behind a window and looking at other people's windows or the windows of empty office buildings could be interpreted as a rumination on a world in standstill.
Personally, I see the photograph View from a Flemish Window which was taken in 2020 at the center of this series. Be it a conscious decision or not, associations to the earliest photograph ever taken, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce's View from the Window in Le Gras from 1826 immediately come to my mind. While View from a Flemish Window and some other photographs in the series were taken from the inside of a house, most were taken during Vercruysse's walks through the city.
It may be an ironic fact that the interior and studio photographer became a street photographer during a time of social distancing and confinement. What we see through his eyes are the windows of a seemingly deserted city, with its inhabitants only becoming perceivable in the traces they left in their windows: shutters brought down to keep out the sun but probably also in order to prevent curious glances; a bouquet of obviously freshly bought and beautifully arranged flowers; a plant that throws its filigree shadows on a curtain; books lined up and stacked on each other in the Window of a Writer, boxes stored on a shelf directly behind a window. However, the viewer can neither see behind these windows, nor decipher what is really happening behind them. In some cases, Vercruysse's photographs even take on the character of a painting, for example when he captures a steamed-up window which blurs the perception of the objects placed on the windowsill, or when some images become pixelated through digital devices.
Some of the views taken are also arranged in dipytchs or quadriptychs. While these images emphasize the formal structures of the facades and windows photographed, the interweaving of structures and reflections, they also make the suspension of time even more perceivable. There is nothing happening, no actions become visible, we can only guess if and what is happening behind the mirror-glass panes of the office buildings or behind a blind. Instead, the mirroring windows reflect back on the artist and thus also on the viewers in an introspective way.
For the exhibition at Spazio Nobile, some of Vercruysse's poetic images have become objects in themselves. For the edition series Mirror Boxes, the artist has collaborated with Atelier Mestdagh, a Belgian workshop for stained window glass. Through the application of mirror glass and their front made of handblown glass with a slightly uneven surface, the images assume a three-dimensional character. The artist thus invites the viewers to enter his windows on and his framing of the world. This opening-up of the works to the three-dimensional sphere is continued in another edition series titled Light Boxes, where some of Vercruysse's photographs of abstract and geometric forms are printed as very radiant UV prints on plexiglass and equipped with an LED light.
words by Christina Töpfer for CAMERA AUSTRIA