In Silence by Gilbert Fastenaekens
Signed and limited print 25 copies inside
Since his Nocturnes series, which propelled him onto the art scene in the early 1980s, Gilbert Fastenaekens has been developing a photographic eye that is both radical and poetic.
With the first Nocturnes, a series of urban locations photographed at night, Gilbert Fastenaekens laid the foundations of an aesthetic which is now at the heart of his uniqueness. Somewhere between documentary and artistic photography, he combines a pared-down formal vocabulary and an almost romantic sensibility. Akin to the pioneers of topographic photography, in which we include Robert Adams, Gilbert Fastenaekens has developed an in-depth study of the city and, more broadly, of the landscape and its mutations.
The analytical and almost sculptural treatment of the places he captures, notably for the French Datar mission and later for the series entitled Site I and II, nonetheless leaves the greater part unfamiliar and mysterious. Moreover, beneath a guise of neutrality, the industrial ruins of Lorraine or the waste grounds and windowless walls of Brussels, in black and white or in colour, reveal a more theatrical, even dramatic character.
With Noces, which he was working on between 1988 and 1995, figurative landscapes give way to an interior, introspective dimension. The Vauclair forest, haunted by the murderous events of the First World War, for seven consecutive years became the backdrop for a sensory and intimate experience which Fastenaekens interprets through fascinating shots in black and white.
Among his more recent works, we should make particular mention of Correspondance, begun in 2007 and envisaged as a “work in progress”. Here Gilbert Fastenaekens revisits shots corresponding to those found on old postcards of Brussels and, through the evident metamorphoses of the urban fabric, questions the notions of passing time and nostalgia.