Genius Loci

Genius Loci
2016-2020

A Genius Loci (Latin for the guardian spirit of a place) is an imaginary friend, who makes the living place and surroundings of a person truly theirs. Besides the fact that it’s a fantasy figure, the Genius Loci also represents the inhabitants of the house, garden, land and their characteristics.

For this collage series of my own Genius Loci, I used photographs as raw material. These photos are partly my own images and partly images from magazines. In my working process the manual aspect is very important, because it provides a limitation in the way of working. This limitation forces me to find better solutions for missing images and it makes the collage more authentic. It’s like working on a puzzle, where every part has to fit together. It sometimes takes a few months to find the right image that exactly fits in to finish the puzzle.

The images are glued on a wooden panel and in the end enhanced with paint, which gives the total image a more cohesive look. The paint melts the separate parts together. However, in the final result all the separate actions during the making process are still visible. The different textures of the used paper, the cuts and the splashes of paint, they all can be seen very clearly. This emphasizes the aspect of time passing by during the working process and it shows the spontaneity and intuitive way of working. It also becomes clear that the used images all have a different origin.

I consider the collage technique as an extension of photography that fits in the tradition of art photography. In this case, the photo serves as working material for the collage, it’s not the end product. Nowadays it’s very hard to find a photo or a photographical idea that we haven’t already seen somewhere before, that is truly authentic. In a regular photographical process, the photographer can directly see what is coming out and has already seen the image through the lens. The light and the situation with its ingredients are already there. During the act of photographing, the photographer is forced to work with the visible reality of that moment on that place, from that specific point of view. A photograph is the two-dimensional result of the unique combination of time and space.

By making a collage, as a contrary to the making process of a photo, I can start with just one small piece of an image without knowing what comes out in the end. My collages are the recreation of a multi-dimensional situation, made out of different photographed pieces that represent parts of the whole reality. Therefore the situation doesn’t need to happen in front of my nose at that specific moment, to be able to capture it. A collage is my way of showing how multi layered and connected everything is. To me a collage resembles real life more, than one single image produced by a photo camera, because of the simple fact that a photo camera is not able to register the ‘whole picture’.