Matthieu Litt (1983) is a Belgium-based photographer, who focuses on the concepts of distance and closeness. He received his BA in graphic design and photography from Saint-Luc in Liège. In 2015, he attended a masterclass on Visual Storytelling with Alec Soth and in 2016 joined a course by Taiyo Onorato during ISSP Latvia. With his project Oasis, he has been nominated for Somfy Photography Award 2020, and the series was exhibited in Het Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam. In 2019, he has received the Young Artist Prize of the Wallonia Parliament.
In his practice, Matthieu Litt is mainly interested in the notion of distance, and how he can visually break and explore it — by blurring the boundaries and landmarks between an image taken in his close surroundings and another from far abroad. Over the past years, he exhibited in several international group shows in a.o. London, Melbourne, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Palermo, Astana and Krakow. In 2016, he had a solo exhibition in Musée de la Photographie de Charleroi with Horsehead Nebula. The series Tidal Horizon was presented solo at Biennale de l’Image possible (BIP) in Liège in 2018. In 2020, he had a solo exhibition in Cultural Centre Jacques Franck in Brussels.
In the most recent years, Matthieu Litt was also nominated for Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize (2018), received Prix de la Fondation Bolly-Charlier (2018), and was awarded Second place Natural & build environments at International Fine Art Photography Awards in Paris (2017).
Matthieu Litt explores a terrain that is called ‘Ry-Ponet’, named after the small river that flows there. It is located in the metropolitan area of the Belgian city of Liège and covers an area of 350 hectares, five kilometers from the historic city center. It is an unplanned landscape park with hills and unexpectedly large biodiversity. At the time of globalization, the green lung is a symbol of resistance, a place to breathe, to escape from city noise and pollution, a shelter for people and animals.
On the first sight Horsehead Nebula seems like a series of documentary photographs depicting a people: their culture and their surroundings. However, when searching for a caption that tells were the photographs were taken, Litt describes that these photographs were taken in the area of the Faristan, a place that, as turns out, does not exist.
The photographs from Horsehead Nebula are actually taken at different places. Therefore the series makes us aware of our perception of photography and thus our perception of reality. It questions our ability to stay critical when looking at photographs that seems to tell us an objective story about this people of the Faristan. The familiar language of documentary photography, misleads us into interpreting the images in a certain way.
By combining photographs that were taken at various places of different people a new world is created in which borders are literally crossed. A new land is imagined. Therefore the series becomes a “quest for the sublime”, a search for a “terrestrial paradise”. Becoming aware of our prejudices that came to mind, Litt gives us a hint of an ideal country in which a place is not defined by its borders, a place on a map or by our prejudices.
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