Manon de Boer

Year and place of birth: 1966, Kodaicanal, India Location: Brussels, Belgium

The Dutch artist Manon de Boer predominately makes film portraits in which she explores the meaning of identity. Memory, linguistic perception, time and space all play an important role in these depictions. At the same time, in each of her films she also explores the medium itself; by continuously breaking through the traditional hierarchy between image and sound, among other things.

She made her first black-and-white portraits of friends and acquaintances as they concentrated on an activity, for example playing the guitar. This culminated in an installation in which De Boer screened three short films simultaneously, showing the same woman reading but filmed at around five-year intervals.

De Boer explored the workings of the memory in filmed portraits of her friends discussing moving moments in their lives. She subsequently filmed the same friends’ faces as they listened to their own stories. The artist captured them at a moment when they were drawing upon their memories, knowing all too well how deceptive the mind can be.

A common thread in later work is De Boer’s fascination with the presence of people in spaces and how they physically or vocally embody their surroundings. By comparison to earlier portraits, in which the camera depicted the performer in the centre, here she leaves the person being portrayed out of shot and slowly takes in the surroundings.

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