The Gaze (de blik)
2005, in co-production with Contour Mechelen vzw and VAF
|Sint-Janskerk (church of Saint John the Baptist)|
lives in Ghent
The Gaze is a new video installation with a dual artistic commentary on P.P.Rubens’ master painting The Adoration of the Magi, a large triptych (1616-1619) that hangs above the main altar in the Saint John’s Church in Mechelen.|
The first part of the picture is seen from the point of view of the small children and is instantly translated through their eyes to our modern times.
The second part is from the point of view of the mother Mary, a young woman on the run from violence, who has just experienced a traumatic childbirth. The spectator can discretely listen along to her inner monologue through the use of headsets (text by Marc De Kesel, a philosopher from Ghent).
Dany Deprez is a film maker. In the past few years years he has made video installations for different exhibition projects. In 2003 he created his video God for the Cultural Centre of Strombeek. This was his first collaboration with Marc De Kesel, who wrote the text for the 4 video sequences. In 2004 curator Moritz Küng invited him for a project ‘Schöner Wohnen’ in Waregem. There he showed his video Cahier sur James, an assembly of travel footage recorded from the point of view of a woman. The voice-off text is the (fictive) diary of a woman James had known, in which she reveils their relationship, again a text by Marc De Kesel. Last year, in Remains Dany Deprez made a first effort to combine video with the history of painting. In Mechelen he makes his second attempt at this.
Dany Deprez: “I was impressed by the Saint John’s Church in Mechelen and its baroque icons, more importantly The Adoration of the Magi by Rubens, the centrepiece of the magisterial triptych. The glances are particularly intriguing: the glances of the figures in the painting and especially the glance of the only woman present, Mary; also the way the artist, like a film director, directs the gaze of the spectator through image composition and the play of light and shadow.”
With the aid of the text by Marc De Kesel (heard through the headsets) the spectator is forced to step into the mother figure Mary’s shoes for a minute. Her words exceed the historicism and the anecdotes of the painting and offer a contemporary reflection on being a woman and a mother in dire circumstances.