Monthly Archives: November 2009

Geert Goiris

What I try to seize upon in my work might best be described as traumatic realism, assigning to the word “trauma” its surgical meaning: Of a breaking point, not in the psychological sense of coping with an unresolved past, but as a short transitory glimpse of another reality.
My images refer to familiar fictions.Simultaneously, they register authentic locations. The fusing of fact and fiction is precisely the fracture that I intend to conserve. I try to preserve viewpoints in all their perplexity. The first acquaintance with a place is important: the strong impression that interferes with a number of stored-up but unpronounced images from our collective memory.
Everything I photograph is real, unlikely as it may seem. I don’t manipulate the photographs, but push their insinuating capacities forward by carefully choosing the moment, framing and viewpoint. To me, a picture is successful when the representative and the narrative elements alternate.
For the past five years, I have been working on this series of images to be compiled in a book called Resonance. These shots are a kind of derivate of media-images: cinema, television or other photographs.
The individual works are connected with each other in a cryptic narrative, like a fabricated memory. The series functions as a distant memory, which is not specific. Rather than bringing me back to the places they depict, these pictures remind me of a way of seeing.
I discover all the images “by accident”. Often there is a central motive that points at human presence, but this is not a formula. Somehow I try to install a doubt into the notion of the sublime landscape by imposing an anomaly onto it. Often there is an allusion to catastrophe, a calamity or disaster: some final event to put the materialistic myth of progress in perspective.
These images are mainly set in landscapes, found at the outer reaches of society, touching on the confines of civilization. These places have a face, a particular physiognomy that bears traces of a bygone or human presence.
By bringing together various regions and climates, a mental landscape emerges. The significance of the location shifts from reality to the realm of ideas.
I do not aspire to make a reportage in the sense of imparting something essential about the country or area where the picture was taken. On the contrary, often only minor details such as the relief or the vegetation are left as vague indicators for orientation. The places I visit are obviously of capital importance, because they are all unique. But I choose not to play out the specific. I try to level intrinsic geographical, climatological and sociological qualities into a global mental image, where different worlds seamlessly fuse their various characteristics and externalise a feeling of anxiety, foreboding and fear. Together they demonstrate a detached yet intense association with my surroundings.
I often use extremely long exposure times, allowing the effect of blur to render the specific time frame indistinct. I trade the moment for state of being. Instead of using a camera to cut a slice of time, I use it to gather evidence of duration, without a clear “before” and “after”. In order to undermine the attributed “realism”, I make it evident that this is not a reality: these are images of a reality.

In All due intent, catalogue Manifesta 5, 2004, pp.156-157.

Geert Goiris


Thanks to Maureen Auriol – mentions obligatoires

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