In her work, artist Chloë Delanghe embraces the strangeness of the everyday that photography can reveal. With both bravery and reserve, Delanghe addresses her personal life, understood as the ties and connections we are born into, or as the relations we spend all of our life re-shaping, and being shaped by. In the artistic universe of Delanghe, memories, much like artworks, are fickle, hard to grasp in any permanent sense. Images, much like our memories, are defective, suggestions of something else. Are we seeing real family stories or photographic fabrications? The artist does not divulge where the border between the real and the fictitious lies. An intimacy however prevails, as does a darkness.
Famyly takes its title from a photograph made by the artist, in which she captures this word written in spray paint on a brick wall. The typo can make us laugh, but it also highlights a sense of instability. The flawed spelling throws off our reading and understanding of a familiar word, turning it into a strange and possibly ominous sign.
Photography and loss go hand in hand
The history of photography has always also been a history of specters, of hauntings, and of ghosts. The other side of the lens oftentimes also becomes the other side of the mirror: another world to be unveiled, a place beyond the looking glass. While the adage goes that what is caught on camera must certainly have been there (following philosopher Roland Barthe’s famous phrase “ça a été” or “it has been”), who are we to be so sure of this, when our experience of the world is often so fleeting, so ambiguous? Photography and loss go hand in hand: the moment might be captured, yet it is also irretrievably gone. For decades, deceased loved ones were photographed as if still alive, dressed up in their homes. These posthumous portraits were treasured by those left behind, and often prominently displayed on mantle pieces. Allowing at times for a nostalgic flair to grace her images, a longing for intimacy and calm becomes tangible in the work of Chloë Delanghe. The strange or the frightening become the familiar. A warmth radiates through the cold surface of the image.
The exhibition takes up two main rooms: the Witte Zaal holds multiple series of image-based works, while in the Tuinzaal two new digital video works are shown. Many of the works on view are exhibited for the very first time or have been given a new form of presentation by the artist.
Chloë Delanghe (Ostend, BE, 1991) is a visual artist, photographer and film maker living and working in Brussels. Delanghe obtained her MA in Fine Arts at the Media Arts department of the Royal Academy of Arts (KASK), Ghent. She completed her Bachelor in Fine Arts at Sint Lukas Brussels.
Recent screenings and exhibitions include, a.o., SIZE Matters, Vienna (elephy, 2019); EMAF, Osnabrück (Magic and Loss, 2019); Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp (We’re This And We’re That Aren’t We?, 2018); The Living Room, Antwerp (Specks of Blue, 2018); WIELS Projectroom, Brussels (Minnebrieven, 2016); S.M.A.K., Ghent (Coming People, 2016); CINEMATEK, Brussels (Seeing in the Dark, 2016); Greylight Projects, Brussels (A Cozy Mystery With Bite, 2015); Courtisane Festival, Ghent (Notes on Cinema, 2015); Beursschouwburg, Brussels (An Evening with Auguste Orts #10 and Tumbleweed #2, 2015 and 2018). Her first book, Reasons to Be Cheerful, was published in 2016 by WIELS and Motto Books. Delanghe has participated in the residency programmes of WIELS (Brussels, 2015), FLACC (Genk, 2017) STRT Kit (Antwerp, 2018), and Tokyo Arts and Space (Tokyo, 2019).
Famyly is curated by Samuel Saelemakers, Curator of the Public Art Collection – Middelheim Museum, Antwerp.