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Exhibition -

Wouter Deruytter - Wicked Creek - Crow Warriors

Wouter Deruytter - Wicked Creek - Crow Warriors

Exhibition overview:


18 Jan - 22 Feb 2014

TORCH gallery


 

Opening Saturday the 18th of January from 5-7pm (artist will be present for the opening)
Open until Saturday the 22nd of February.


On Saturday the 18th of January between 5-7pm TORCH proudly opens with Wicked Creek / Crow Warriors, a solo-exhibition by Wouter Deruytter. Deruytter is a Belgian photographer currently living and working in New York city. He will present two separate bodies of work, both situated in Montana: Wicked Creek, which captures the activities of firefighters in the National forest, and Crow Warriors, a series documenting Native American performers in the same state. After the opening the works will be exhibited until Saturday the 22nd of February.

 


 

Deruytter's striking square format photographs combine a classic pictorial narrative with a contemporary awareness of subjectivity. In Wicked Creek, the central series of this exhibition, he offers a very personal perspective on the massive Wicked Creek forest fires. In 2007 almost 30.000 acres of National forest and National Wilderness were destroyed. Deruytter stayed in a ranch nearby and got the chance to observe the daily practices of those battling this inferno. Instead of opting for photographs of menacing walls of fire and firefighters facing deadly perils, he captures the eerie quietness of men preparing to contain the fires and its barren aftermath. Firefighters confidently pose for the camera and blackened branches divide and accentuate a forest empty of life. Part of this series shows the burned down forest covered in a blanket of crisp white snow. The flames are gone and nature is preparing for a new start. The fringes of this natural disaster are given a classical gravitas by the way the photographer frames them. What could have been a story of destruction and danger has become a series about masculinity, solitude and hope.

 

In Crow Warriors Deruytter revisits a theme central to his work. By documenting seemingly anachronistic ways of life with a great sense for theater and elegance he is able to suppress any ironic or stereotypical viewing of the scene. In this case his subject is the life of Native American performers, re-enacting a largely imagined past. Deruytter is not very interested the obvious disconnect between act and actuality, but would rather show the unexpected beauty of physical presences. We see all the icons familiar to us from Western movies such as wild horses, warpaint, headdresses and buffalo horns. Simultaneously we see young men, lost in either thought or character. Several of them seem to be visibly uncomfortable with being descendants of the warriors that won the historic battle of Custer's Last Stand in 1876. Above all, Deruytter's aesthetic choices enable the viewer to feel compassion for these people, both as performers and as human beings.

 

Wouter Deruytter (1967, Belgium) lives and works in New York (USA). His work is exhibited worldwide and is part of of several influential private- and public collections, such as those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA), The National Portrait Gallery (USA), the private collections of Elton John and Leo Castelli. He is currently working on a book on his ongoing Sphinx project, to be published by Steidl. In 2013 he received a city-spanning exhibition in his home town of Roeselare, Belgium, presenting his entire oeuvre on seven different locations. He is represented worldwide by TORCH gallery Amsterdam.

 

Selected catalogues will be available for sale at the gallery during the exhibition.

Www.wouterderuytter.com

The opening of this exhibition will kindly be sponsored by Voss Water.

 

For further information and image requests please contact the gallery.