Terminé le 22.05.22
Zoé van der Haegen. Arbres-Troncs
The work has its roots in familiar ground regularly trodden by the photographer over several years: the Kalmthout nature reserve in the Antwerp Kempen area. Marred by fires and by a pine forest clearing policy, the former luxuriant woodland was temporarily transformed into a desert landscape with the skeletons of bare, gaunt trees. The fascination exerted by visions of reality overwritten by dystopia and by the totem-like remains of tree trunks deeply blackened and eroded by fire were the source of my artistic approach, which was initially purely photographic in nature. Those same photographs would be cut out with scissors in a second phase to extract the vertical shapes of the trunks from them and dissect the different layers of wood from the bark. The fragments would be assembled according to a multitude of new combinations, emerging in the foreground or background of coloured transparent plastic film, creating an interplay of overlays. The bright and artificial colours, deriving from office equipment, mingle with dead plant matter in a visual search drawing inspiration both from some 20th-century artworks -including pop art and abstract expressionism- and archive pictures or contemporary media images of nature affected by wars and devasted landscapes. Lastly, beyond what the eyes can see, the series also endeavours to engage the body in this encounter through the scale of the photographic prints present in the exhibition.