MORE PICTURES FROM WAI'ANAE
19 November – 19 December 2015
Matthew Brandt’s first solo exhibition in Brussels.
«For the past three years I have been taking photographs in Oahu. These printed photographs were rolled in dirt, leaves, burlap and lace and buried on a family farm in the town of Wai’anae. Over time, the elements of the Hawaiian earth changed these pictures. Presented in this exhibition are remains of this process.»
This new body of work extends Brandt’s interest in the meeting between the photographic subject and its material self. Pressing beyond the pictorial depiction of the dense tropical rainforest, the images also bear the imprint of the actual site. In mixing with the soil, the picture surface erodes-areas are stripped of layers of emulsion, and new patterns are superimposed from the materials used to bury the prints.
A repeating palm tree motif has been hand-stenciled onto the gallery walls in a multi-color layering process. In essence, the artist combines handwork with a mechanical procedure to create a hand-printed wallpaper.
This wallpaper is another way of extending Brandt’s exploration of the Hawaiian landscape into the space of the gallery in a lived way. Throughout history and across cultures and religions, palm trees and palm motifs have been symbols of peace, paradise, and hospitality — the marker of an oasis in a dry desert. Printing palm tree wallpaper is a site-specific solution for hanging an exhibition in an apartment-style gallery in Brussels. The space of home and hearth opened up a natural progression from printing clothing — worn and circulating within the walls of the gallery — to printing wallpaper as a way to engage with the complex modes and history of domesticating the «exotic» and rendering it decorative. In this way, the idea of a Hawaiian paradise has been supported by the flattened tropical imagery of tourist memorabilia, tchotchkes, postwar films, and other products. This palm tree motif wallpaper is a part of an investigation of domestic digestion of the Hawaiian landscape.