The photographs of Ghent-based Dirk Braeckman (b. 1958, Eeklo, Belgium) have a distinct stillness and quietude that counter the whirl of today’s visual landscape. Images of empty, unidentifiable interiors, architectural details, oceans, and partially obscured nude figures are just some examples of the artist’s subject matter. Braeckman’s deeply gray photographs are often abstracted, contributing to the mystery and intrigue of what his images convey while adding a sense of distance to the intimate interiors and views he depicts. Rather than setting up scenes or shots, Braeckman travels with a camera and captures what he sees, including hotel rooms, museums, and vacant corridors; his approach is partly diaristic, yet because the locales are anonymous and the photographs’ titles are unclear codes, Braeckman’s work is relatable and open-ended, eschewing photography’s documentary impulse. This fluidity is intentional and meant to engage, as the artist states: “I’m not a storyteller, I’m an imagemaker. The story is made in the mind of the viewer.”
Since the mid-1980s, Braeckman has tested the limits of photography, especially its materials and processes. Challenging the reproducibility of a photographic image, particularly in light of today’s vast dissemination of images, Braeckman creates unique prints using analogue processes and physically taxing experimental methods in the darkroom. The individuality of his images and the physical nature of his processes are evocative of painting, as is the rich tactility his unglazed photographs embody.
Dirk Braeckman’s work has been exhibited extensively across the globe. In 2017, he represented Belgium at the 57th Venice Biennale. He has had solo exhibitions at BOZAR, Brussels; LE BAL, Paris; De Pont, Tilburg; De Appel, Amsterdam; S.M.A.K., Ghent; M, Leuven; and ROSEGALLERY, Santa Monica. Braeckman’s works are in public collections around the world, including in FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais, Dunkirk; Sammlung Goetz, Munich; De Pont, Tilburg; Centraal Museum, Utrecht; and Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg. FOCUS: Dirk Braeckman will be the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States.
The FOCUS series is organized by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and features three solo exhibitions each year. Started in 2005, this series is committed to introducing visitors to new and emerging artists that are gaining worldwide acclaim as well as exhibiting esteemed mid-career artists who have previously been under-recognized in the region. The exhibitions are fresh and dynamic, as the artists are intimately involved in the planning and often create new work for these presentations. The artists also engage in dialogue with Museum visitors and donors in small group conversations and in lectures for the public. The FOCUS series is international in scope and features work across all media. Throughout the program’s history, many FOCUS exhibitions have marked the artist’s first solo museum show.
The FOCUS series is organized by Associate Curator Alison Hearst. FOCUS exhibitions are open to the public and are included in general Museum admission.
Support for the 2018–2019 FOCUS exhibition series is generously provided by Frost Bank.