Katrien De Blauwer
she won't open her eyes
Gallery FIFTY ONE
Opening reception: Saturday, November 27th 2021 from 2 – 6 pm, in the presence of the artist!
In her third solo exhibition at Gallery FIFTY ONE, Katrien De Blauwer (Belgium, 1969) takes the viewer on a journey between dream and reality. With ‘she won’t open her eyes’, the artist adds a remarkable concept series to her oeuvre, filled with formal experiments that mark a shift in her imagery.
The work of Katrien De Blauwer is always partly autobiographical. Although she uses material taken from vintage magazines and turns it into anonymous and universally recognizable images by cutting out the faces, she reassembles and appropriates this found imagery into a new, very personal narrative that is far removed from its original meaning. Created in a spontaneous and intuitive manner – mainly guided by her own emotions – De Blauwer’s photomontages depict her personal life story and memories. In a same way, the series ‘she won’t open her eyes’ found its roots in a personal experience, arisen in a period in which the artist experienced a lack of sleep and started to reflect about the concept of sleep and dreams. A book she read at the time – ‘The House of the Sleeping Beauties’ (1961) by the Japanese writer and Nobel prize winner Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972) – would eventually become the starting point of this new exhibition.
Katrien De Blauwer
Katrien de Blauwer was born in the small provincial town of Ronse (Belgium). After a troubled childhood, she moved to Ghent at a young age to study painting. Later she attended the Royal Academy in Antwerp to study fashion. A study she abandoned. It was at that time she made her first collage books, which were actually studies and mood books for fashion collections. At a later age she began collecting, cutting and recycling images as therapeutic self investigation.
Katrien De Blauwer calls herself a “photographer without a camera”. She collects and recycles pictures and photos from old magazines and papers. Her work is, at the same time, intimate, directly corresponding with our unconscious, and anonymous thanks to the use of found images and body parts that have been cut away. This way, her personal history becomes the history of everyone. The effect of these collages is a kind of universalisation, emphasizing the impossibility to identify with a single individual, yet allowing to recognize oneself in the story. The artist becomes a neutral intermediary: without being the author of the photographs, she appropriates and integrates them into her own interior world.
Born in Ronse, Belgium in 1969
Lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium
Visit artist website here.
Katrien De Blauwer gives new meaning and life to what is residual, saving images from destruction and including them in a new narration that combines intimacy and anonymity. Her work therefore deals with memory, basically. Memory by accumulation rather than by substraction. Her work brings to mind the procedures of photomontage or film editing. The cut being used as a frame that marks the essential.