Al de zwart wit foto's tot 1998 [All Black and White Pictures until 1998]

Jef Geys


Photography, 60 x 80 cm.
Materials: photo

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK7690_M441).

In 2002 Jef Geys was one of the four Belgian artists at the eleventh Documenta, which was compiled by Okwui Enwezor. Geys showed a 36-hour black-and-white film, Dag en Nacht en Dag en… / Day and Night and Day and…, in which an endless series of the artist’s photographs was shown in an agonizingly slow, hynotic sequence in a room at the Fridericianum. This was a true film marathon, in which Geys harked back to a book, published in 1998, with the prosaic self-explanatory title of Al de zwart-wit Foto’s tot 1998 (All the black & white photos up to 1998): a very thick book of 500 pages of contact prints comprising all the photos the artist had taken over the last forty years. It was partly due to the DE ORDE DER DINGEN exhibition in 2008 that the M HKA decided to buy the 500 contact sheets that made up the aforementioned book. Geys’ overwhelming, literally immersive personal archive is presented in the M KHA in a closed, darkened room and is a striking metaphor for the fantastic image of a descent into the deep vaults of forty years of black-and-white artistic skill. In Dag en Nacht en Dag en… / Day and Night and Day and… the film projection symbolises the slow but inevitable passage of time. In a single panoramic glance Al de zwart-wit Foto’s tot 1998 gives one an overview of the artist as a relentless observer and chronicler of his own history.

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