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Lieven Herreman

Damaged Goods

Born in Oudenaarde in 1956, based in Ghent (Belgium).
Lieven Herreman graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent in 1983. He immediately started working independently as a photographer in both the artistic and commercial circuit. From 1987 to 2018, he combined these assignments with teaching at the Academy of Visual Arts in Ghent. In 1990, he builds a spacious, well equipped photo studio for photographing objects and works of art.
Based on these diverse experiences, he develops his own artistic trajectory in which he questions the meaning and effect of the photographic image obsessively. His stubborn perspective brings us to reflect upon the issues of life itself.

Photography is an obsessive activity to Lieven Herreman, one that shoots in many different, and often contradictory, directions. At least, that’s how Lieven sees it, for the viewers I believe there’s a distinct connection in all of his work, stylistically and atmospherically.
He plays with contrasts and with the intrinsic and undeniable duality of the world around us. However, in this duality lies acceptance, acknowledgement, and an encounter.
There is light and dark. There’s abundance and desolation; too much and too little are both important focal points.
At times, the (destructive) image is even combined with the actual destruction of the photograph. The image disappears, it is buried, manipulated, altered, an extra layer is added, depth and surface, hence receiving an new lease of existence. Compare it to walking in a small river where the height of the water changes your view of the riverbed continuously.
Do these altered photographs remain images or do they become objects? It seems ironic that a photographer chooses to destroy the image he creates. To Lieven it is about showing and disguising; showing what you don’t see, and what you see is only an excuse.
Undeniable in Lieven’s work is the love for the human being. The female body is the foundation of her mind, spirit and feelings. His borderline ruthless curiosity drives him to seek a connection with the subject, her soul, the mood of the moment. He explores, delicately and respectfully, but he refuses to embellish, aiming to capture an invisible inner truth.
Lieven has an ambivalent relationship with instinct. He desires to know, but not explicitly, he’s mainly looking for a space for his own imaginary projections.
In Lieven’s case photography is first and foremost an activity, the result is what remains of this; a spectra, a trace, a shadow.

Text by Lizzy Pauwels.

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