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Exhibition -

Wouter Deruytter - Billboards, NY

Wouter Deruytter - Billboards, NY

Exhibition overview:


08 Jan - 19 Feb 2011

TORCH gallery


On Saturday the 8th of January the exhibition Billboards, NY by Belgian-born photographer Wouter Deruytter opens at TORCH gallery Amsterdam. In this series of photos Deruytter displays the contrast between the collossal billboards in the American metropolis and the people that pass them every day. Between 5 and 7 pm the exhibition will have its festive opening. After this the work will be on show until the 19th of February.

 

 


Wouter Deruytter moved from Roeselaren in Belgium to New York in the beginning of the nineties to study photography at the International Center of Photograpy. Quickly after his arrival he focussed his lens on this very photogenic city. He was fascinated by the role the abundant advertisements played in the townscape. The billboards of megolamaniac proportions allow the half naked models on them to hover over the city as the ghost of unachievable perfection. Their sultry looks and gorgeous bodies have an almost threatening character in Deruytters photo's.

 

By using these models as larger than life residents Wouter Deruytter made New York into a city of giants. The people passing underneath almost seem subjects to this contemporary Olympus. These new commercial gods are scaled to the skyscrapers instead of the public which seems to create a whole new layer of existence within the city. Between these layers an often ironic meeting between hypercapitalist display of power and the daily life of the New Yorkers takes place. Sensuous scenes of affection that should sell underwear are collectively ignored by the passersby. One wonders how far these scenes must go to be noticed at all.

 

In summary these works approach the billboards in New York in three distinct ways. First they emphasize the change in the experience of scale they accomplish. Secondly they focus on the often comic visual pairing between what happens on the billboards and what goes on underneath. Monks passing barely clothed giantesses and the slogan 'impossible is nothing' above one of the cities less fortunate inhabitants. But what they mostly make clear is that the general populace of New York has learned to somehow completely ignore these visual screams for attention.

 

In his work Wouter Deruytter searches for moments where progress meets tradition. He photograps scenes that show where time seems to stand still and where it seems to rush ever forward. His subjects range from rodeo cowboys to dragqueens. He appears to be driven by a need for the adventurous and lets us benefit from this drive by his photographs. He is often able to produce rare images of perspectives unseen or ignored by most. He uses his Hasselblad for a kind of photojournalism that reports on that which is always there but never 'the news'.

 

This approach has resulted in a great number of exhibitions worldwide, including those at New York's Chelsea Art Museum and museums in Mexico, Belgium and Italy. His work is included in many public and private collections ranging from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the private collection of Elton John. Wouter Deruytter has been selling his work through TORCH gallery for many years and also has representation in Mexico and China.

 

For more information and images: http://www.wouterderuytter.com/