August 11, 2007

Stefan Beyst

You'll find Stefan Beyst on : his official site, absolutearts, IOnOne.

Stefan Beyst is a Belgium based retired lecturer in the philosophy of art and modern art history. Many of his often controversial texts on art and modern artists are to be read on his website.
From 2006 onwards, in an outburst of long-suppressed creativity, he has embarked on a new adventure : photography. In every series, he is out at developing a new approach or a new thematic, and at setting new standards for image-making.

Thank you Stefan for your confidence.

In 'Sans tête(s)' he explores the realm of double images in a series of 16 'polymorphic metamorphoses' of a body in decay.
In a rather dark and ominous series 'Auguries of Innocence' he ventures into the domain of the 'mass-scape'.

In 'Seize obscurs objets de désir', he enters a new territory : conjuring up desirable and desiring beings from meaningless 'found patterns'.

In 'Heptatych' he tries to combine rigid composition with deep emotional resonance.
His approach testifies to a radical rejection of the concept of photography as a document, as if it was meant to illustrate Paul Klee's saying : 'Art does not reproduce the visible, it makes visible'.

"Voet 0"

A series of polymorphic metamorphoses by himself :

sans tête(s)" is a series of images which has multiple readings. Naturally at first sight you'll get the certitude that it is a question of many bodies, which appear here and there, a forearm, the neck of the foot or a calf. Nevertheless it is not as well as the body is made, there are not of fragments. Then, what has been photographed here ? Even if we believe to know everything since the beginning, only explanations can reveal the secret.

"Handen 2"

Fragments of real bodies are transformed in parts of imaginary bodies : these are double images thus. The idea is not new. You have to refer to Arcimboldo or Dali. The images of these artists are truly double. But not ambivalent.

In the case of Arcimboldo, we see either the still life or the portrait. What we see in "sans tête(s)" escapes in every reading made in a single dimension. The back turns out to be a stomach which exposes itself. What appears as a bust is also read as a pair of buttocks, what is outlined in front of your eyes to dissolve suddenly in two bodies, what seems to be photographied by various sides. The gap of a vagina opens there where we expected the presence of the penis. And what to say about the triptych of ankles ?

"Voet 4"

This is why these images are rather condensed, as were La Joconde or the Holy Jean of Da Vinci, where the sexes dissolve in hermaphrodite beings. Here, the simple ambivalence develops a finished polymorphia, as we find it in Rorschach's tests.

"Enkel 3"

In this sense, the way to proceed, which is on the base of "sans tête(s)", is itself a condensation of the double tradition of the double image and the condensed image.

"Elleboog 2"

No doubt, "sans tête(s)" is based on a concrete approach : the body in decline. But at the same time, the series demonstrates how some simple interventions, and purely technical, as zoom in, diaphragm and lights, transform this approach in its opposite. The erotic load of the bodies which seem split often surpass that of the youngest real bodies.

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