Dirk BraeckmanDirk Braeckman

(Roma , 2011 )

“At times, I suddenly start to melt into my surroundings. I find myself in a state of mind that makes me anticipate the surrounding space. I feel the need to register that dialogue with reality, the ‘thought’ in those images.” – Dirk Braeckman

An unsettling and awkward silence governs the darkly intimate (predominantly monochrome) spaces that Dirk Braeckman describes. These banal locations appear to be indistinguishable, detached, almost set-like constructions– with the recurring themes of corridors, bathrooms, hotels, and conference rooms dominating the photographer’s interest, all of which are frustratingly void of personal or domestic artifacts.

In encountering Dirk Braeckman’s work we are forced to attempt to contextualize what we see, to try and identify the narrative, whilst what is portrayed draws us physically closer to the intense inks of the printed page. Like scrapping away the layers of earth that cocoon an archeological treasure, at times what we’re viewing is barely legible and then, at the turn of a page, we are confronted by a jolting detail that obscures any previous insight. Through the grey haze that smothers Braeckman’s spaces, we are forced to aimlessly search for illusive clues, to understand what these spaces are, and to discover the secrets of the anonymous naked women that inhabit them.

The reoccurring representation of frames—those of doors, windows and paintings, and Braeckman’s fascination with the textures of barely illuminated unoccupied beds—intensify the unsettling (almost seedy) voyeuristic nature of his lens. Our compulsive urge to discover that which lies between fact and fiction securely holds us in Braeckman’s enigmatic spell. This is a beautifully produced book, an unforgettable and seductive bound collection of overwhelmingly atmospheric and poignant spaces.

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