Wim Catrysse .Lifted

01.02 until 11.04.2004

Catrysse studied Experimental Arts at the Sint-Lukas Hogeschool in Brussels. Following that he studied at HISK in Antwerp and was awarded a grant for a sojourn in Glasgow. In 2001 he held a solo exhibition in Argos, where several works were set up in the space, and since then he has participated in several group exhibitions.

Wim Catrysse, through his films and installations, aims to make the visitor aware of his own observation and experience. His dialogue with the observer is central to his work. Catrysse’s films can be considered as a study of the relationship between the body and its surroundings. The characters in Catrysse’s films are situated in an enclosed space, which appears to exert an influence on their behaviour and mood. It goes without saying that the presentation of the works is of prime importance in this. At the heart of Catrysse’s work are simple deeds or actions executed in self-constructed or adapted areas – often of extremely restricted size. The camera does not only capture the actions. The position of the camera in relation to the scene – which can be: static, close up, rotating or as opposite number – is the decisive factor in the impact made by the images. Catrysse does not use the camera ‘manually’ (zooming in, shifting), nor are the takes later doctored or manipulated). The camera is involved as a constituent element in the events, not only for recording the scene. In addition to the actor and the observer, one can view the camera as a third participant. The tension between the body and the space is amplified by the observer ‘s vantage point becoming one with the camera’s. Using the camera, the artist focuses on certain actions, selects which facets within the scene he wishes to highlight. The possibility of throwing into relief selected aspects of that reality and bringing them into intense focus, is one of the merits of film as a medium. The lens reveals a reality that surpasses the whole gamut of our senses and permits us to see what is actually optically invisible. Catrysse’s works deal repeatedly with certain perceptions evolving from unconventional situations. The films make the observer aware of his or her own corporality: visual stimuli find a sounding-board and inject the work with meaning.

For the S.M.A.K. exhibition, Catrysse starts with the uniqueness of the Kunst Nu space, a long, narrow, high mezzanine. A passenger lift links this space with the ground floor of the museum. Catrysse presents the new exhibit ‘Lifted’ there. For this exhibition the space is accessible only by lift: the actual entrances are sealed off. A lift door is projected on both extremities of the elongated hall, above which a small light flashes. The visitor hears both lifts slowly approaching. The doors open almost simultaneously but reveal nothing more than a black void. Then the camera zooms in on the empty projection room, thereby sucking the observer with it into the blackness. The link between the film of the projected lift door and the reality that visitors can only reach the exhibition via a lift, evokes an interesting interaction between fact and fiction.

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