EXTRA 21 | 2017

Magazine FOMU fotomuseum Antwerp
Published by Fw:books

Design: Hans Gremmen / isbn 978-94-90119-51-5 / 17 x 24 centimeter / 136 pages / softcover / Dutch only / 12 euro 

Praktijk, arbeid, ambacht, productie, werk. De stiel van de fotograaf, daar is het ons om te doen in deze eenentwintigste editie van EXTRA. We plaatsen de maker – en diens metier – prominent op de voorgrond. Zijn of haar oeuvre verhult steeds een unieke aanpak. Bij de een zal die permanent in verandering zijn en worden externe impulsen met een tomeloze overgave geëxploreerd, terwijl de ander in zijn productieproces blijk geeft van een schijnbaar onveranderlijke routine. Terwijl de praktijk de ene keer tot een beredeneerd en uitgezuiverd resultaat kan leiden, schopt ze de andere keer heftig om zich heen en flirt ze met zelfdestructie. Er zijn ongetwijfeld evenveel fotografische praktijken als er fotografen zijn.

— Taco Hidde Bakker, Kent Sisyfus de berg?
— Bram Van Beek, Recognized / Not Recognized
— Stefan Vanthuyne, Provoke
— David Campany in gesprek met Mark Neville
— Carlos Spottorno en Guillermo Abril, La Grieta
— Maarten Dings, De kijkpraktijk
— Vesna Faassen & Danny Muboti & Lukas Verdijk
— Joachim Naudts, Jan Fabre
— Steven Humblet, Een onbestaande praktijk
— Daria Tuminas, Opgespannen spieren
— Ingrid Leonard, Shiras, Rebikoff & Salomon
— Margit Erb, Philippe Laumont, Saul Leiter
— Rein Deslé, Paolo Woods


First published in .tiff magazine, FotoMuseum Antwerp, Belgium. October 2014

Text by Bert Danckaert

The work of artist duo Vesna Faassen (Arnhem, NL, 1986) and Lukas Verdijk (Boxmeer, NL, 1984) is focused on the complexities of multicultural societies and on geographical and racial disparities. Their artistic practice is charged with socio-political messages and manifests as photographs, films and performances that are not afraid of controversy. One example of this is the film Welkom, Welcome, Bienvenue, Willkommen (2013), in which Faassen and Verdijk escort a group of illegal immigrants on a tourist train ride through a rainy Antwerp. The result is a sharp, absurdist “road trip” in which the lack of suspense creates the underlying tension.
In another film, we watch a few African men set up a tent in a field with the Schelde river and the Antwerp skyline in the background. Faassen and Verdijk are aware of the deep-seated prejudices that mean that many of us have difficulty perceiving these people as campers. At the end of the film, the tent is erected and in the background an immense cruise liner, the Europa 2, departs for unknown destinations.
Spray Tan (2014) consists of two self-portraits in which the artists have had themselves sprayed with a tanning agent. The spray comes in three shades: light, medium and dark. Faassen and Verdijk chose dark. White people go to great lengths to appear bronzed as this equates to wealth and beauty, while black people use bleaching soaps to achieve the exact opposite result for the same reasons. The interpretation of the exact same brown shade is therefore dependent on context. It is on this ambiguous crossroad that Faassen and Verdijk like to position their art.


Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp 
Published by Track Report

Design: Jean-Michel Meyers & Nico Dockx / isbn 978-94-9052-129-5 / 10.00 euro

A curious circle. A circle of seventeen young artists, alumni students from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerpen. A circle of complementary energies and new ideas. A circle of sitting together and listening to one another. A circle of inspiring thoughts and shared conversations. A circle of whispering sounds varied by breath from one person to the other.

Participants: Sofie Nagels, Lukas Verdijk, Vesna Faassen, Cerena Aksungur, Ersi Varveri, Margot de Clerck, Pallavi Verma, Maika Garnica, Darcey Bennett, Mathieu Verhaegen, Iljen Put, Joren Thys, Alix Manon, Caroline Kolkman, Katerina Psaradeli, Andrea Zrno en Jan Gordts, Nico Dockx.

Chinese Whispers (Also know as: whisper down the lane, telephone, pass the message, etc. It's a game in which one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first.)


Published on the occasion of the exhibition 'Celebrating Europe' in Kaunas, Lithuania. 

… Will the wind of globalization destroy the identity of Europe after all? Perhaps it will remain like a nostalgic postcard as in the film by Vesna Faassen and Lukas Verdijk: a pyramid of white pharaohs next to which black tourist build their temporary homes like in a wilderness. Only these are no tourist, but the inhabitants of this city who, despite of all effort to tolerate, integrate and create equal conditions for all, look alien to this landscape anyway: white people passing them by in the film try to ignore their “unsuitable” behavior politely, but cannot (do not dare, avoid to) stop the process. The contradiction encoded in the image allows us to imagine a world where all landmarks have disappeared, values and beliefs disintegrate, and the inhabitants switch places: these “tourists” are the true Europeans who even do not feel any nostalgia, because the cultural past of Europe dot not belong to them …

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