The selection Vanfleteren made for this exhibition is diverse; from his portraits of the series ‘Belgicum’, to his snapshots taken during countless travels and encounters and even a photo from the time he traveled across the US dressed as Elvis. Sometimes the connection between the work of both artists is quite literal, such as Maier’s image of a women photographing her friends versus Vanfleteren’s infamous photo of an elderly couple taken on the Koekelberg Basilica in Brussels (a stroke of luck without equal). In other cases, the works of both artists echo each other in a more indirect way. We see their similarities – such as a shared interest in typography, urban decay and poverty, alternated with comic relief – but also the many differences in approach and character. In contrast to Maier’s fleeting and anonymous encounters with her subjects, Vanfleteren’s portraits – also shot with a Rolleiflex – bear witness to a much slower way of photographing in which he takes his time to understand the character in front of his lens. Regardless of their differences, both artists are clearly driven by an urge not to forget. Amidst the spontaneity of the constantly evolving buzz on the streets, they fiercely capture life in all its facets with a special eye for that which is on the verge of disappearing.
Stephan Vanfleteren : Capturing life
May 11th – July 10th 2021
Gallery Fifty One
B – 2000 Antwerpen