Hommage à Monsieur Anonyme.

Hommage à Monsieur Anonyme. Vernacular

Who is anonymous? The photographer or the person or object in the picture? Nobody or everybody is anonymous at certain moments and known at others.

In the strict sense of the term an anonymous person is a person whose name we don't know. But are we really talking about an anonymous person? Why do we speak about the "unknown soldier" and not about the "anonymous soldier"? The Photo exhibition "Tribute to Mr. Anonymous" is looking for an answer to these questions in three stages/phases.

 The exhibition offers three different approaches to the concept "anonymous". The first part is dealing with the classical anonymous photography by amateur photographers and their occasional pictures. Highlight of the exhibition is a series of photo collages and sculptures by Xavier Debeerst as a tribute to the anonymous artist. We find yet another approach to the anonymous in "Kortrijkse Koppen" in which we show early 19th Century portraits made by Kortrijk photographers. The photographer is known, but the portraitee is anonymous.


 Anonymous photography consists mainly of the accidental photograph made by the accidental photographer. Surprising pictures from various surprising angles. The picture can be a technically succesful image or a failed picture which gets an unexpected power of expression precisely because of its imperfection. A power of expression experienced by the viewer and not by the maker of the image. These are mainly pictures saved just in time from the waste disposal and recycled by the viewer. Anonymous photographs are mainly very recognisable images from daily life. Pictures about unexpressed intimacy.

 Anonymous photographs are also photographs by talented photographers forgotten in time. In fact there is little difference between the classic art photography by famous photographers and the anonymous photographs. The only difference is the lack of any historical background which gives the pictures a mythical status because the viewer has to imagine his own story in every photograph. These photographs give the viewer more freedom of interpretation.

 The time has long gone that anonymous photography was looked down on. Gradually anonymous photography is obtaining the same status as the work by famous photographers. The anonymous photography has drawn the attention back to the content and the image and less to the signature.

Discover the exhibition

Xavier Debeerst
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