On the eve of her first solo show in Berlin, we put a few questions to near-ubiquitous Belgian photographer Lara Gasparotto to talk preparation, pressure and blessings.
You’ve just been taken on by Berlin’s Kromus + Zink Gallery – what does that mean to you? How does that change things, if at all? Having worked for a few years now with Antwerp’s Stieglitz 19, how do you feel you’re prepared for this next, slightly more international, phase in your career?
Well together with Dries Roelens (founder of Stieglitz 19), we’ve been thinking of working with an international gallery for a while now. I think it’s always good to get out of your comfort zone and not get locked down in Belgium. This exhibition is a big challenge for me, and I clearly see it as an avenue for extending my photographic carrer.
Can you talk to us about how the connection with Zink was made? When did you guys first started talking about working together?
A few months ago, Florian Kromus, one of Zink’s co-founders, saw one of my photographs in a collector’s house and apparently was intrigued by it. He got in touch, and I invited him to come have a look at my installation at the Bonnefanten museum in Maastricht. Soon after he offered me a solo show, and representation at his gallery. As you can imagine, I was really really happy as I felt that it was something I had been waiting for for a while. Plus the best part about Zink, for me, s that it doesn’t only focus on photography but on contemporary art more generally. And that’s something I love.
The gallery represents a number of other Belgian artists – Rinus Van De Velde, Hannelore Van Dijck. How do you think your work fits in with theirs? Is there, in your mind, a common denominator that underpins your approach, aesthetic, vision, etc…? Something that binds your work to theirs?
I think they’re both very talented, I like they work so I’m glad that my works can be associated to theirs. I don’t know about a common denominator… I think Rinus also talks about auto-fiction – I read it in The Word actually haha – and creating fictional biography, something I do too. And Hannelore plays with the perception of the spectator which I do too in a very very diffrent way.
How did you prepare for this first show at Zink? Will you be showing any new works?
The place is great, I did a big installation, and they’re always different, with a new dialogue between images. I used three different formats of frames, huge stickers and rubbers. I’ll mostly be showing new images from 2014, and a few older works in new formats. So there are new things to discover, even for Belgians who already saw my setup in Antwerp, Charleroi or Maastricht.
Did the fact of exhibiting in Berlin inspire you in any way?
Every time people put trust in me for a show, I want to give it my very best, simply as a gesture of respect. It’s very important to me to do my installations very personally, trying to make it better than the one before, always pushing it, always going forward. I’m still learning a lot. And I feel that when you have your pictures hanging on a wall you can take a step back and consider where you are and how you can push your work to be better.
What does success look like to you? For this exhibition but also more generally..
Hahah I really have to balance things out and take them with a pinch of salt because I’m still at the very begining of the ladder, even if I feel blessed with the success I’ve had in Belgium.
Are there any other Belgian artists active today who’s work you’re particularly fond of?
Hmmm yes plenty … Aurélie William Levaux, Edith Dekynt, the etchings of Charlotte Istat, Michael Borremans, Vincent Delbrouck, Dirk Braeckman, Thomas Chables, Julien Meert, Hello Monsters, Colo & spit… There are so many.
After this show at Zink, what’s coming up for you?
Travels, travels and more travels. And I have a project of a very special book in a very small edition with some of my pictures and poems from my friend, the writer Margaux Lea Corsini. I have to start looking for the good person who’d like to publish it though :)
Last but not least, how would you describe your approach to photography?
There is a lot of spontanety, like sometimes I have ideas crossing my mind and I try and bring them to reality, even if the results are always different of what I had imagined before. Or it’s just a fragment of time as it is, a party, a walk, a meeting with somebody and I just catch the moment. I use a lot of differents mediums and my interest is to create a unity in the diversity of it. I try to make it work by the ambiant, the colors, the atmosphere. The real interest is that you are giving a vision, a mood of our time, between fiction and reality, even if it’s your own fictional work it will stay as a kind of document, it will be a part, a still picture of the past.
Lara Gasparotto will showcase her work at Kromus + Zink Gallery in Berlin from the 7th of March to the 18th of April 2015.