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Exhibition

29.01.22 - 22.05.22

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Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt

No grandiose events in Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt’s photographs, no political or preachy messages. But fragments of life, brief everyday moments, in the way that life can be funny, tender, endearing and sometimes sad too.

Each photograph comes and composes a little story, a chronicle of the banality that he has a unique way of sublimating. Tender, sometimes painful pictures, leaving doubts and questions, which linger in memory like the nostalgic overtones of a song. Like muted understatements, Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt’s photographs release the whole range of feelings, preferring a knowing smile to a burst of laughter, sweet melancholy to tears. “With Vanden Eeckhoudt, people are never faced with the event, with the great moments of history, but with the chinks in everyday life, in small ceremonies where the strange and the absurd are not strangers. His photography is the place for personal celebrations, such as the aerial performance of a dancer against the backdrop of the Taj Mahal, or his son Nicolas, leaping in a public garden. Images that offer explosions of bodies and bursts of euphoria, celebrations for oneself, like a face tilted to enjoy the declining rays of sunshine, stolen moments that the photographer has captured and retained as the day peters out. The beings who populate his photographs each seem to play their own score, going about their daily lives as they wish, as a group or on their own, in the space that the photographer ascribes to them, taking the same care with the setting as with the models.

He excels in capturing images where the apparent movement unfolds like a brushstroke, whether it be the movement of the dancer, the musician, the weaver, the worker at his lathe, the majorette or the balancing act; soundless movements spontaneously choreographed, movements aroused by enjoyment or driven by hard work, weightless sculptures moulded in flesh.” Xavier Canonne in the work that is published at the time of the exhibition.

Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt disappeared in 2015. The exhibition presents nearly 250 photographs, half of which are unpublished.

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Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt. France, 1991. © Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt