With his latest show opening in Amsterdam’s De Brakke Grond today, we asked photographer Max Pinckers to capture the run-up to the exhibition using one of our office throwaway cameras. Read an interview with him below and scroll down for his -picture gallery.
Can you tell us about your exhibition in Amsterdam? What exactly are you showing? What’s the premise of it…
The show takes place within the context of a series of duo exhibitions presented by De Brakke Grond in which a Belgian artist is asked to invite someone to exhibit with. I invited Michiel Burger to take part in an exhibition that focuses on the tension between two contrasting ways of documentary photography. Gauthier Oushoorn, the artist I worked with to produce the Afzelia wood light boxes for the series The Fourth Wall, is placing sculptural interventions in the space. The exhibition is titled MAMIHLAPINATAPAI: A look shared by two people, each wishing that the other will initiate something that both desire but which neither one wants to start. I will be showing my latest series and launching the book The Fourth Wall. Michiel Burger will exhibit, for the first time, his entire archive of collected photo material.
Why did you select the photographer you did? What appealed to you in his work, and in the possibilities of your collaboration?
I was searching for a photographer that had a similar vision to my own in terms of documentary photography, the approach and its paradoxes. I was introduced to Burger by a mutual friend, Sam Weerdmeester, who suggested he might make an interesting match. What I found appealing, about Burger’s work is his method of collecting images and his strategy of storytelling. His work, at first sight, couldn’t be more different from mine. It is are nearly opposites. I highly respect his attempt to completely dismiss any form of appeal or aesthetics. He tries to give and show photographs the way they really are, without living in the shadow of paintings and the traditional Western idea of what a ‘beautiful’ image is supposed to look like. This is exactly the element that I exploit in my own work in order to essentially distort this idea of aesthetics. We both have similar intentions, yet work in completely different forms. By bringing these together, we create a stimulating diallogue between storytelling, documentary and the aesthetics. Oushoorn’s installations create breaks between the flow of images with an emphasis on the perspective errors within the gallery space.
If you could collaborate with anyone else in the word, photographer or other, who would that be?
Tho those who might not be familiar with it, can you tell us a little about your latest series, The Fourth Wall?
The series was made entirely in India, most of it in Bombay, over a period of 6 months. The intention is to show to what extent the film world influences daily life. The work consists of a book and series of custom made light boxes.
Photography isn’t exclusive in your body of work. Text also seems to have a crucial role to play. Why is that important to you?
The texts in the book are mostly sourced from Indian newspapers that I read thoroughly during my stay, searching for articles that intrigued me or fit the concept of the work. Others are from novels or books I read on the way. Text plays a crucial part in photography, especially when working with suggestive narratives. They have an immense power to transform the gaze of the viewer. The same counts for titles of photographs. They create a context, a frame of thought for the image(s) to be read in. The text used in The Fourth Wall was a way of expressing the coincidental factor of my work method. I make images, which later seem to fit surprisingly well with certain articles I happen to come across. Sometimes I read an article, make a quote out of it, and only later is it linked to an image that unexpectedly suits it.
Which photographer, if any, was a major influence in your work?
Dirk Braeckman, Jeff Wall, Beat Streuli, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Franky DC, Rob Hoornstra, Thomas Ruff, Alec Soth, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jean Marc Bustamante, Ernie, Hans Peter-Feldmann, … the list goes on.
What’s next? What will you be working on and doing over the next few months?
I’m working on a potential new long-term project back in Bombay, but I can’t give away too much on that just yet. The next event will be the launch of the website www.foundfootage.be (still under construction), a platform for unseen works created with found footage by different contributors.
Can you tell us what your favourite three music albums have been so far?
I don’t really listen to albums, but rather youtube or playlists. Favourites aren’t really a steady factor either, but right now I like listening to Actress, Internet Club, Dolphins Into the Future, Mehdi Hassan, Chopin, Lola Flores, John Lee Hooker …. and the list goes on.
What is your favourite photography magazine and/or website?
selfpublishbehappy.com and Aperture magazine.