Decent but merciless, Laura Van Severen abstracts or changes a particular environment into rock solid compositions that embody (new) worlds of their own. These new worlds only slightly differ from the ones they originated from. Her subjects themselves remain untouched and unaware of the transition they are undergoing.
It is her choice of perspective and sometimes-uncanny moment of creating the image that shifts the situation into one that is detached or graphic. Hereby, movement is an important factor in her approach to photography, in the subjects she photographs as well as in the way she approaches the world visually. By walking or driving, different layers of the landscape or space merge into each other or overlap, appearing and disappearing in front of or behind each other. In this process the specific place seems to be of less importance, rather the coincidence of details that come together in a specific way on a specific time provide in the possibility of creating her images. Van Severen searches for these coincidences, finds them and embraces them. In this sense, she is uncoupled from the world she is photographing. It’s only from this position that she is able to distill the frames and moments in this world, everybody else would just walk on by.-Yves Kerckhoffs.
The series I never promised you a horizon (2014) and A more elevated scene (Looking West) (2014) are an obstinate commentary on the romantic landscape sigh at the end of the 18th and the first half of the 19th century. The romantics were looking for vast, overwhelming nature views. They searched for vantage points from which the landscape unfolds in the eye in its most picturesque or sublime character and tried to capture their experience in painting or poetry. The photographer selects here a radically different perspective that recalls the statement of Le Corbusier; The vertical gives meaning to the horizontal. He built a viewing device that allows us to look at the horizon in a different way. Opposed to the horizontality and the vastness of the romantic landscape art he puts a vertical line that does not dominate the picture but the frame. Lefere focuses on the cut in the middle of the image and not on the landscape behind it. He emphasizes the frame that inevitably frames the viewing. In addition to the images taken from the viewing device, he also shows an idealized wooden model of the viewing device – a prototype that invites the viewer to imagine another horizon experience. As a posthumous tribute to the understanding of Le Corbusier, Lefere wants to emphasize that the landscape and thus the horizon is a product of the interaction between the built and the unbuilt. Just like the photographic image is always the result of the interaction between frame and object or between device and reality.
The work of Isabel Devos is a research between photography and painting plus an investigation on the literal border between nature and human culture. Since long Devos photographs the traces of water on sluices and shores. She isolates these parts from their context. A peculiar and abstract image arises, referring to the possibility of a landscape and the multi-layered characteristics of a painting. Notations of the water, naturally grown on human architecture.
We tempt to control nature by building waterways, sluices and artificial lakes. Nature nibbles at these borders. These contemplative landscapes point out the heart of the beauty of nature
As a child, Griet Van de Velde, loved to look at the tiny black and white prints in her grandfather’s family-book. As a teenager, she stopped believing in the reality of pictures. Like every serious photographer, she stopped believing the lie. Her approach towards photography is deliberately the one of a novice, making belief there has been an untrained eye at work. Look at it as if she’s photographing in the way an adult can try to draw like a child. Griet wants to be surprised by a moment of light and/or shadow which turns the ordinary into poetry. She also is very much fascinated by vernacular installations; human kind’s (un)-conscious constructions. Griet does not ‘hunt’ for images, she rather ‘gathers’ moments on her way. With every take she tries to go back to the early years of her naïve eye, but then again, balances it with training by time and dialogue. Her initial concern is the photograph, the moment. With too much thinking the naïve point of view would get lost.