Open interpretations on darkness - ALEXANDRE CHRISTIAENS (BE) - www.alexandrechristiaens.com

 
 
ALEXANDRE CHRISTIAENS (BE)

   Open interpretations
      on darkness

      www.alexandrechristiaens.com
Inde, Mandvi, 2015 © Alexandre Christiaens

           Biography

           Alexandre Christiaens was born in Brussels in 1962
           He lives and works in the village of Dave, near Namur in Belgium.

           On sea and land, he has a number of photographic journeys (Grèce, Inde, Chine,
           Russie, Estonie, Liban, Chili, …) and residences to his name. Currently his work
           remains mainly applied to silver photography b & w. In Belgium and abroad In
           Belgium and abroad he has led a number photography workshops and his work
           exhibited in solo and group exhibitions both in Belgium and abroad.

           Since 1999, his photographs have been on display in a number of private and
           public collections, such as in the General Service for Cultural Heritage of the
           Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the Regional Photography Centre in the region
           of Nord-Pas-de-Calais, the Charleroi Photography Musuem, the Richelieu-
           Louvois Library (National Library of France), the Hasselt Cultural Centre, the
           Space Collection, and In Cité Mondi in Liège, to name but a few.

           He has published several works: « Photobook Belge 1854-now » Fomu, Foto
           Museum Antwerp © Hannibal 2019, La neige bientôt © JPB EDITIONS #8,
           Hunter Grill © Origini edizioni livourno May 2017, ESTONIA Carl Havelange and
           Alexandre Christaiens (available in French and English) © Les Impressions
           Nouvelles – April 2016, Eaux vives, peaux mortes, ©Edition Yellow Now 2012,
           En Mer, voyages photographiques © Editions Chasse marée / Glénat in 2008,
           Grotesques, concretions et paysages, © Edition les Brasseurs / Parallèle in
           2007, Réseau cristallin, published and designed by Alexandre Christiaens – text
           by Eugène Savitzkaya.

           www.alexandrechristiaens.com
Grèce, Voyage à Cythère, 2002© Alexandre Christiaens
Open interpretations on darkness

Stormy seas wrapped in darkness, star showers where sidereal time is unraveled, wooden
boat bow thrusters. Anchored by the galactic night to the deepest crevices of the earth, these
millennia-old concretions, consecrated to eternity, are magnified in Alexandre Christiaens’
photography. These photographs unveil and revel in the passion that analogue photography
fuels in darkness.

As Christine de Naeyer writes in an article on Alexandre Christiaens’ first monograph (appea-
ring in Yellow Now additions and in the accompanying 2011 exhibition at the Espace Contretype
in Brussels): this ‘darkness that dawned before life and colour (…)’. ‘The force of such a thick
and encased darkness that bears no opacity. Indeed, far from representing a black screen that
closes itself off, it is a darkness that invites its threshold to be constantly crossed’1.

In the images – which have been meticulously crafted in the photography lab hideaway–,
there is a range of darkness graduating from the darkest to the faintest shades. Whether
this darkness is in the form of intense chunks or sliced patches, ‘from the onset, it captures
the imagination and invites the viewer to meditate, journey inside and in front of themselves,
through the core of the vibrant yet elusive material; an unfathomable mystery (…)’2. Seas and
caves that share something in common: the photographer captures the visual aspect of the
earth’s mysteries as if it were a raw material to which he gave shape. In Alexandre Christiaens’
photographs, we find organic, physical, mineral and visceral portraits. From depths of the ear-
th to the moving surface of the sea and the furtive glints of the sky, which throw the viewer
into the thick abyss of the living, captured in fragile yet powerful sketches.

Finally, these images share the tension towards formal abstraction – which emerge out of
the dives undertaken by analogue photography in the dark room: photographic manipulation
that is born out of the stop bath where the bright and mannerist moods of the sky, water and
millennia-old stones are brewed and modulated. In the seascapes captured between dusk and
dawn, and in the stalagmites that are secretly sworn to eternity – just like cosmic time is di-
lated under the celestial dome –, for the photographer, it is a matter of ‘capturing, one by one,
this ambiguity, the slight quiver of life in inertia, the veiled depth in the mysteries of time, – the
remaining tatters of night, even in the midst of the day.’

François de Coninck

1      Christine de Naeyer, ‘L’oeuvre au noire’ in L’Art meme, no 52, page 36
2      Ibid.
Océan Atlantique, 2013 © Alexandre Christiaens
Brésil, Salvador de Bahia, Océan atlantique, 2007 © Alexandre Christiaens
Océan Atlantique, 2007 © Alexandre Christiaens
Océan Atlantique, 2007 © Alexandre Christiaens
Océan Atlantique, 2007 © Alexandre Christiaens
Indie, Mer d’Arabie, 2008 © Alexandre Christiaens
Roumanie, Mer Noire, 2007 © Alexandre Christiaens
Roumanie, Grotte Méziad, 2007 © Alexandre Christiaens
Roumanie, Grotte Méziad, 2007 © Alexandre Christiaens
Belgique, La Merveilleuse cave, 2005 © Alexandre Christiaens
Inde, Grotte Diu, 2008 © Alexandre Christiaens
Inde, Grotte Diu, 2008 © Alexandre Christiaens
Inde, Grotte Diu, 2008 © Alexandre Christiaens
Inde, Grotte Diu, 2008 © Alexandre Christiaens
Roumanie, Grotte de Glace, 2007 © Alexandre Christiaens
Roumanie, Grotte des Ours, 2007 © Alexandre Christiaens
Inde, Mer d’Arabie, 2008 © Alexandre Christiaens
Inde, Mer d’Arabie, 2008 © Alexandre Christiaens
Grèce, Voyage à Cythère, 2002 © Alexandre Christiaens
Inde, Cap Cormorin, 2004 © Alexandre Christiaens
Inde, Mandvi, 2015 © Alexandre Christiaens
Océan Atlantique, 2013 © Alexandre Christiaens
Chili, Valparaiso, 2015 © Alexandre Christiaens
For
             Biography
      Solo & group exhibitions
Photographic journeys and residences
      Teaching and Workshops
                visit
  www.alexandrechristiaens.com/en

For high definition portfolio, contact me at

          Alexandre Christiaens

    Rue du moulin, 29 - 5100 Dave, BE
          ++32 (0) 473 56 21 28
    alexandre.christiaens@gmail.com
     www.alexandrechristiaens.com

                             Iles de Wight, 2000 © Alexandre Christiaens
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