With around thirty unique prints, Thomas Vandenberghe, born in 1985 in Ghent (Belgium), endeavors to show how photography is writing in motion and the print its ideal medium.
Photography is not an illusion for Thomas Vandenberghe who frequented it very early, at the age of freestyle bikes, budding loves and mischievous muses. It is part of him, completely. “Every photograph I take comes from my own world,” he says straight away. A world close to our real world, and simultaneously so different that one could believe that this Belgian artist, born on September 19, 1985, in Ghent, in East Flanders, really comes from elsewhere? But from where?
Perhaps from his darkroom, his “playground”. A “magical” place, he adds, where “the chemical process causes coincidences and surprises. There, forgetting the litany of received ideas, everything encourages him to believe in himself, in what he sees and feels at that moment. It is this spontaneity that surprises and upsets, because it echoes something very intimate. As if he had succeeded in intuitively translating waves of feelings, ruptures and common experiences. To release thoughts tinged with more or less poisonous charms. But how does he do it?
He owns the print. He is not afraid to transform it. He detaches himself from it to better share it and bring it back to life. And, why not, give it a new interpretation. It is the art of imaginary dialogue in the Vandenberghe version: “You can touch a print, pass it around, look at it and write on it. A paper print can take any form: torn, burned, cut and glued… Each photograph has its own scale and its own choice of paper. Printing remains the basis of my work. Anything can happen once it’s on paper. For me, printing on paper is the very nature of photography. »
Thomas Vandenberghe knows that he has the power to distort reality, to “make ugly things beautiful and vice versa”. He tells stories of which only he knows the beginning and the end, and which he exposes, not in the wrong direction, but in a context which does not exclude any possibility of assembly. He appreciates sincerity. He also likes his stories on paper to be like snapshots of truth. There can be found what constitutes it, assured gestures and quiverings, flashes and silences, bare skins and fleeting flowers.
His photographs are like a little fireworks; butterflies discovering the night; feverish messages hidden under images that are sometimes raw, but never cruel. He is this young photographer who in turn absorbs this world in motion where so many others, “from Robert Frank to Araki, have left their mark”.
Brigitte Ollier, November 2021
Thomas Vandenberghe : archive
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