EN_On an ordinary day. -Pascal Demeester
On an ordinary day. -Pascal Demeester-
Pascal Demeester is a Brussels native, born in Schaerbeek in 1959. He studies at the E.R.G., exhibits at the Contretype gallery and works for 12 years as a fashion and advertising photographer in Brussels before spending more than 20 years between New York and Los Angeles. Paris and London also become temporary havens. In 2019, he settles permanently in Brussels with his wife, Japanese artist Keiko Hamagushi. A return to origins, which also translates into his work.
It is from New York in 2011 that he progressively develops an artistic project, starting with a photo-graphic work " Vanishing Point " and " Shelter " (which were turned into an exhibition and a book as well).
Recently, Pascal Demeester has also found himself a space in Brussels (Ixelles) where he can exhibit his work. (Instagram @d_e_m_e_e_s_t_e_r).
In his previous expo, "Horror Vacui", he exhibits drawings and engravings. No photographs. His progressive return to his roots, naturally confronts him with the question, "Who was I before my education, my traumas, all the books I read, the museums and my aesthetic experiences?"
Hence, after his photography series " Vanishing Point " and " Shelter ", he returns as an artist to pencil, gouache, charcoal, engraving and paper. Not just any paper, no, paper with grain, so that it embodies his desire for shapes, contours and matter. For Demeester, everything originates with the drawn, the engraved.
In these drawings of the "Horror Vacui" expo, light and shadow must also be applied. Natural light. Probably the only common point with his work as a photographer.
In many cases, the complexity of these drawings calls for a calm and slow reading. In them one already finds a return to the origins, long before the culture (without ignoring it, that is), that this artist so longs for.
In his current exhibition, "On an ordinary day", this longing, this reasoning, continues. The subject matter? A plethora of images from everyday life in Japan, many from Tokyo, that busy, vibrant metropolis, but also from the countryside, where his wife's relatives live. Seemingly disconnected images. However, this is up to the viewer to decide for himself. Nothing is imposed. He himself says: "In general, I shot these images in a simple, intuitive way: as soon as a place, a situation appealed to me, a mental cadence, a balanced composition was formed almost immediately. All I had to do was bring the viewfinder to my eye and click".
Despite the visual bustle, culture-driven, that is omnipresent in Tokyo, Demeester does not emphasise it. Again, he manages to show images that exude a serenity, a calmness. Both in terms of the absence of actors and graphically. Sometimes almost austere, which is also an essential part of this (almost contradictory) Japanese
At first glance, these 179 images all appear to be " photo-graphics ". However, all these images were "drawn" by an inkjet printer. Colour by colour, dot by dot (30 ink jets per mm).
Whether the image is " executed " jet by jet by a printer or colour by colour by the artist's hand does not change the result obtained. We are looking at an image that is an interplay of pigmentary colours on a support: " a painting ". That is also why Demeester answers this with a single " photo-graphy ". Not a " positive photo-graphy " (daguerrotype), but a " negative photo-graphy ", commonly known as " a negative ". Importantly, an " analogue positive print of a negative " is a " hybrid photo-graphic image ".
Hence the reference to the subtitle of this series: "Japan 179 paintings, 1 photo- graphy ".
In this case, the 179 images taken from a digital file were recorded by a photo- numeric device. (But nothing can prove this, up to you to take my word for it). The viewer can ask himself questions about the nature of the images.
Digital files, even before their print is made, are identically duplicatable, copyable, to infinity. They are 100% modifiable and, compared to a negative, lack total authenticity as a witness to the recorded scene.
The negative is unique. It is created through chemistry (the energy of photons transferred to billions of salts of silver bromide of the negative).
With all images recorded on a numerical file, the viewer can question the "authenticity", the "truthfulness" of what the image shown is about. This is in contrast to the negative created via chemistry.
A paw print of a wolf in the snow captured on a negative means the real took place.
When recording on a digital file, there is no such certainty. When using a " photo- numeric " camera, as the name itself implies, first a recording of "photons " occurs whose energetic quantity is then interpreted by an analogue/numeric converter on a numeric file composed of 0 and 1. There is therefore no conclusive certainty that at this moment the real has taken place, and that the image has not been obtained by an artificial intelligence or another synthesis programme.
The 179 images are " executed " on " wallpaper ".
Demeester quotes: "En effet, un des enjeux sociétaux fort importants est aujourd'hui "le processus de confrontation entre la vérité et l'exactitude de la représentation" - Pierre Barboza "Du photographique au numérique", Lharamttan, 1996.
Text: Guy Van Laere.