Hello! Today I’m telling you about a great exhibition in the Roberto Polo Gallery. I pass by this gallery every day on my way to work. I never walked in before, until the name of one of my favorite belgian photographers appeared in the window display…!
Carl De Keyzer
I once wrote a small article about Carl De Keyzer at university for a class about photography. To prepare myself, I went to the Munpunt library close to De Brouckère and found 2 books: Moments before the flood (2012) and Congo (Belge)(2009). For his series Moments before the flood, De Keyzer travelled along the European coastline to photograph sea landscapes. In his pictures you can feel the power of nature. There’s a tension between the smallness of human beings and the powerful sea that could swallow a piece of land any time. These are images I won’t forget in a long time. But the second book about the traces of our colonial history in the Congo, was the one that moved me even more. It has some really shocking images about our past that we rarely get to see in a land that tries to hide its colonial history. I hope to own a copy of these books some day! Check the Muntpunt collection if you like to know more about belgian photography 😉 . Carl De Keyzer is a member of the world famous co-operative, called Magnum Photos, founded by one of the most known photographers ever, Henri Cartier-Bresson. But let’s talk about Cuba now!
Cuba, la lucha
DE KEYZER, Remedios, Cuba, 2015, archival pigment print on fine art paper mounted on Dibond, 109 x 130 cm, © Carl De Keyzer, Courtesy Roberto Polo, Brussels
Cuba, la lucha means Cuba, the struggle. De Keyzer stayed in Cuba for 2 months in 2015. He understood that Cuba would change very soon after and he wanted to capture this period of ‘in- between’. The economy is slowly opening up to foreign influences, but the habitants of Cuba are struggling between two cultures. Now that Obama visited Cuba this year, it could all change very fast. It’s almost like De Keyzer knew that he had to hurry to make this series before it’s too late.
DE KEYZER, Havana, Cuba, 2015, archival pigment print on fine art paper mounted on Dibond, 109 x 130 cm, © Carl De Keyzer, Courtesy Roberto Polo, Brussels
In the pictures we see regular people during their daily activities. The photographer doesn’t judge. He just shows us a piece of reality. If you look closely you can feel the tension between the past and the future, the old and the new.
DE KEYZER, Manzanillo, Cuba, 2015, archival pigment print on fine art paper mounted on Dibond, 109 x 130 cm, © Carl De Keyzer, Courtesy Roberto Polo, Brussels
There are around 60 pictures in the gallery! I was very surprised to see how big the Roberto Polo Gallery is. It’s almost the size of a small museum with lots of rooms downstairs and upstairs. And it’s free 😉 . If you like more information, the people from the gallery will be happy to answer your questions. You can also buy the catalogue for € 49,99 (preface by Gabriela Salgado, Lannoo Publishers, 176 pages).
Roberto Polo Gallery, rue Lebeau, 8-12, 1000 Brussels (very close to Central station).
The exhibition is open until May 15th, Tuesdays through Fridays from 14.00 to 18.00, Saturdays and Sundays 11.00 -18.00.
Header image: DE KEYZER, Havana, Cuba, 2015, archival pigment print on fine art paper mounted on Dibond, 109 x 130 cm, © Carl De Keyzer, Courtesy Roberto Polo, Brussels