Ruurlo, Bocurloscheweg (1910)

David Claerbout


Installation, 300 x 400 cm.
Materials: dvd, projector

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK7026_M187).

David Claerbout’s point of departure for his video installation Ruurlo Bocurloscheweg, 1910, is an old Dutch picture-postcard. At first sight the art work consists purely of an enlarged projection of this documentary photograph. The typical piece of Dutch landscape is reminiscent of paintings by Dutch Masters of the 18th- and 19th century. The ‘frozen’ moment of the photo, though, is breached: the leaves on the big oak in the foreground gently shimmer back-and-forth in the wind. Claerbout ‘splices’ a video recording of the swaying crown of the still-existing tree onto the original snapshot image. In this way the artist undermines the boundaries between the static and the dynamic image, between documentary and simulation. He likes to have the viewer doubt the authenticity of what he’s looking at. The difference between ‘genuine, realistic’ images and manipulated ones becomes ever-smaller and less apparent. Moreover, Claerbout wants viewers to reflect upon their perception of time, to think about the way we perceive things and how we remember events. Events from the past are over, but they still remain as remembered images. The artist brings these images to life and so makes visual feelings of loss and the rediscovery of times lost possible. Claerbout lets the viewer cast a glance at what was ‘gone for good’.

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