Around the year 1124, a community of Benedictines settled on the Wivina site at Groot-Bijgaarden in modern-day Belgium. Archaeological research has uncovered the remains of five consecutive churches and outbuildings there. The current chapel from 1924 is still intact. In 2011 interior architect Tom Callebaut led the transformation of this chapel into a contemporary space for contemplation. Nine years later, photographer Geert Goiris was invited to visualize the experience of this space, which is still a beacon of theology and reflection. A text by Herman Lombaerts accompanies the series of images.
Limited edition of 500 copies
Between 2008 and 2010 I travelled twice to antarctica to photograph a whiteout. This weather condition can occur in polar regions and high mountains. When the concentration of microscopic ice crystals in the atmosphere exceeds a certain limit it traps the sunlight. Light gets diffused through these particles, falls onto the snow and ice below and is reflected endlessly in the air like an an echo chamber.
Whiteout is an atmospherical, optical phenomenon, where the observer appears to be engulfed in a uniformly white glow. Any sense of depth and orientation is lost. Only dark, nearby objects can be seen. The horizon disappears, the landscape turns into a white void – a ‘ganzfeld’. Our brain isn’t used to uniform stimulation, seeing is based on contrast. Making a distinction between different patterns, colours or structures. When we gaze into a featureless field of vision it can produce hallucinations
I wanted to capture on film the transformation of matter into light during a whiteout. The resulting piece is an analog slide projection. The film was exposed in antarctica, developed and at last loaded into a projector. The powerful light shining through the diapositive projects an ephemeral image onto the wall. The projection is automated, each image dissolves into the next one. There is a strange temporality at play inspired by the experience of continuous daylight during my stay on the continent.
In his extensive work, Goiris deals with the possible loss of the world as we know it. On his travels, he captures deserted landscapes, strange rock formations, gnarled trees, and mysterious artefacts with the precision of his large-format camera, imparting them a fascinating physical presence. Objects and landscapes in his photographs are made to appear like melancholy carriers of secrets, impossible to be classified in terms of time or space. The combination of accurate reproduction with the bizarre nature of motifs not only captivates the viewer’s gaze but stimulates our reflections on the state of the world. His images are intentionally unpinned from a specific era, giving the feeling of looking at the past and the future simultaneously. They unite references to exemplary works of photography and traditions in painting without committing to specific genres or pictorial motifs.
His work is present, among others, in the following collections: Seattle Art Museum, Seattle; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; Museum of photography, Antwerp; Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos, Spain; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Paris; Direction des Affaires culturelles de la Ville de Paris; Deutsche BÖRSE AG, Germany.
Selected exhibitions: Word Without Us, Biennale de la photographie de Mulhouse, Caserne des pompiers, Hombourg/FR (public space)(2020); Silent Earth, Deutsche Börse AG, The Cube, Eschborn (2020); World Without Us, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Anvers (2018); Geert Goiris, Musée de Bagnes, Bagnes (curators : Jean-Paul Felley & Olivier Kaeser) (2014); Geert Goiris, M – Museum, Leuven (2013); Le Silence. Une fiction, Villa Paloma, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Monaco (2012); The eye is a lonely hunter: images of humankind, The 4th edition of the Fotofestival Mannheim – Wilhelm Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen (2011); Whiteout and other stories, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg (2010); Fresh Hell, Carte Blanche à Adam McEwen, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2010).