David Claerbout

The Annet Gelink Gallery proudly presents the first solo exhibition in the Netherlands of Belgian artist David Claerbout (1969). David Claerbout's work is a unique mixture of photography, film and painting. Originally schooled as a painter and draughtsman, Claerbout uses digital tools to alter photographs by moving shadows around, adding in walls or changing the positions of objects or figures. He makes the leaves move in an old photograph of a motionless tree, lights up the hand-held torch in a group portrait or makes a chair rock. By digitally editing old photo material, he explores the boundaries between moving and static images while playing with perception and experience of time.

Claerbout's new installation, The stack (2002), which is presented at Annet Gelink Gallery, was shot in Houston. The film presents an enormous cloverleaf against the background of a sunrise. At this spot, an architectural construction where several roads cross, Claerbout filmed the changing of sunlight for thirty minutes in real time. While the piercing sun slowly moves from left to right, the presentation changes subtly, yet intrinsically.
The foreground reveals a figure in pitch-dark shadows. He's a homeless person, lying unseen beneath the crossover. Initially, he's invisible, but as time passes his presence becomes more and more noticeable. For just a few seconds, the man is lit up by the sunlight. Even then, the figure is hard to make out due to the brightness of the sun. In the video installation Violetta (2001), also presented in the gallery, spectators stand inside a small, dark room in front of a portrait of a woman's face. A fan seemingly brings the static image into motion, blowing her hair gently about in the wind.