Daphne van de Velde (1973) is the second young photographer – or perhaps I should describe her as “young as a photographer”. Initially followed an engineering degree in architecture, which she supplemented shortly after with a degree in Architectural/Monumental Arts from ArtEz University College of Arts. Finally, she also graduated from the Amsterdam Photo Academy in 2020 in the middle of Corona.
I first saw the work at UNSEEN last year, where it already made a big impression on me. Now today, Daphne van de Velde comes with an exhibition in Naarden that is again very much worth seeing. It is not photography in the classic sense of the word, but a questioning of the medium, an exploration of its possibilities.
Her work reflects all the influences of her diverse training – it probes the boundary between photography and sculpture, it is sometimes monumental but not always, it forms a unity with the architectural space ánd it is experimental.
Van de Velde’s work does not just stick to form. For her, the creative process is the exploration of the external, where she strives to reconcile the representation of the surface with the inner world of feelings.
Self-portraits were her starting point, but soon she experienced the limitations of photography. She wants – so she tells herself – to make skin tangible.
She experiences that we use our skin as a border, a defensive wall to prevent other people from entering. Photographic paper becomes the substitute for skin, which she manipulates, moulds into a photo sculpture. But don’t expect a representation of the body, the broken fragments refer to a physical contact, be it loving or aggressive you just can’t decide. They are experiences of intimacy and vulnerability, of lust and desire, of love and of pain.
We live more and more in our own space is one of her principles – but I wonder when looking at the work and reading her statement whether the work could have been realised in a period other than corona, in a time other than that of compulsory isolation. It expresses so strongly the loneliness, the hunger for skin, the longing for real human contact – that it almost sums up this period.
Daphne van de Velde likes to refer to the quote :
All that is required to move from indifference to love is the courage to have our hearts broken
a quote from Nick Cave. Ultimately, she asks us to drop the barriers, because only when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and risk grief that we will experience love.
The strength of Daphne van de Velde’s work lies both in its design and its starting point – it breaks the boundaries of the medium, and the result is surprising, captivating and challenging…
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Daphne van de Velde is represented by
Art Gallery O-68 Oranjestraat 74, 6881SG, Velp, The Netherlands
Her work can be seen now & in the near future in
Allard Wildenberg Art Projects (solo exhibition) Naarden-Vesting Till 2nd of April 2023
Vilnius Photography Gallery (solo exhibition) Vilnius, Litouwen Summer 2023
The quote of Nick Cave can be found at
The Red Hand Files ISSUE #196, first § lines 8 to 10.