Hans Bol – On My Doorstep & Lucas Leffler – Silver Creek
Hans Bol, Lucas Leffler
December 17, 2022 – February 4, 2023
Festive Opening on Sat 17 Dec, 17–19 hrs
In this exhibition, Galerie Caroline O’Breen is pleased to present new photographic work by Hans Bol from his project On My Doorstep (2020-2022) and the Belgian artist Lucas Leffler with his recent series Silver Creek (2018-2022). Both artists are fascinated with the materiality of analogue printing while their work can be seen as contrasting to each other in aesthetics and approach.
Hans Bol makes small, intimate, mostly analogue prints ranging in technique from photogravures (toyobo) to handprinted silver gelatin and platinum-palladium prints. With these traditional 19th-century methods and a poetic approach to stillness and movement, Bol’s romantic aesthetics reveal through landscapes and scenes of nature. The exhibition coincides with the Dutch premiere of Hans Bol’s new book On My Doorstep, which was presented in Paris this fall. Like the book, the exhibition will be a showcase of this new body of work. Tijs Goldschmidt – recipient of the Jan Wolkers Award 2022 – has written a short text, Notes, in which he also reflects on the photographer’s surroundings.
Lucas Leffler creates unique prints on (rusted) steel and ‘mud prints’ made from the soil on the bottom of Silver Creek river by means of darkroom printing processes. This stream close to Antwerp is known for the story from the 1920s of a large leakage of silver from the analogue film factory Agfa. Leffler’s work is based on a strong interest in science and history and is stimulated by a fascination with chemistry. The exhibition features recent photographs by Lucas Leffler that reveal his unconventional ways of visualizing the Silver Creek story.
Hans Bol – On My Doorstep
The photographic work of Hans Bol (1957, Amsterdam) combines the practice of both analogue and digital capture and printmaking through a consistently varied approach. Bol’s work seeks, and finds, intimacy and tranquillity in the natural landscape of the Ooijpolder where he has been based for 30 years. “Living in the Dutch countryside, the word that always comes to my mind is rooted. The sounds, scents, temperatures, wind, animals, light, trees. It’s the place where I live and work, where I feel best – my biotope.” His project On My Doorstep explores the notion of home, using this series of photographs to reveal the artist’s immediate surroundings.
The title was inspired by the work of the American photographer Paul Strand, whose The World On My Doorstep was published in 1994. His doorstep was literally the world at large. Bol’s doorstep – between 2020 and 2022 – was limited by necessity to a few kilometres around the artist’s house.
Hans Bol is a self-taught photographer and bookmaker who, besides printing himself, closely cooperates with other printing experts in the field. His previous exhibitions include FOAM, Fotomuseum Den Haag, Museum IJsselstein, Museum Beelden aan Zee, Unseen and Haute Photographie. His work is included in such collections as the Rijksmuseum, Fotomuseum Den Haag, Het Nederlands Fotomuseum, Museum Beelden aan Zee and Fotomuseum Antwerpen. His new book On My Doorstep was presented in 2022 at the photobook fair Polycopies in Paris.
Lucas Leffler – Zilverbeek (Silver Creek)
Lucas Leffler’s (1993, Virton, BE) series Silver Creek can be seen as an artistic and photographic experiment. It is inspired by the leakage of silver from the chemical plant of the Belgian imaging factory Agfa (then Gevaert) in the 1920s, located in Mortsel. As a by-product of the production of photographic film, an extensive amount of silver was accidentally disposed of into the waterway. The discharge coloured it fully black and gave it new names – Zwarte gracht (Black Ditch), or Zilverbeek (Silver Creek). The story goes that a factory worker has discovered the outflow and secretly recovered up to half a ton of silver per year from the sludge.
Lucas Leffler pursued research about it and experimented with the visual facets of the story. The artist found archival material, newspaper clippings and historical documents. He photographed both the remains of the factory and the creek. Just like the pioneer before him, Leffler collected mud from the bottom of Silver Creek, trying to find traces of silver and produce his own photographic emulsion. The resulting series consists of silver gelatin and UV prints on old steel sheets and experimental silver ‘mud prints’ with the sludge from the river incorporated in the emulsion. In this way, the subject and object of the Silver Creek story merge into one in Leffler’s work.
Having graduated in photography from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Gent (BE), Lucas Leffler lives and works in Brussels. His experimental practice questions the nature of the photographic image through its production processes, techniques and history. Leffler takes inspiration from myths and facts often linked to photography history. He sees the nature of photography close to alchemy and tends to expand it to other forms like sculpture or installation. Past exhibitions include the Elysée Museum (Lausanne, CH), FOMU the Photo Museum Antwerp (Antwerp, BE), Paris Photo and Art Paris (Paris, FR), Unseen (Amsterdam, NL), Salon Approche (Paris, FR), Hangar Photo Art Center (Brussels, BE), Biennale of the Tangible Image (Paris, FR), Centre d’Art Contemporain du Luxembourg Belge (Étalle, BE), PhotoBrussels Festival (Brussels, BE) and ManifestO Festival (Toulouse, FR). In 2022, Leffler was shortlisted for C/O Berlin Talent Award. His work is in the collections of Fotomuseum Antwerpen, Musée de l’Elysée, Fondation Boghossian, Contretype and Carrefour des Arts Foundation.