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Beyond History Havana 1998-2006


V.D. about his own work: “Since the late 1990s, my work has involved the creation of photographs as fragments of personal (re)memory with people in their living space, in combination with a natural interest for the way they act in the theatre of their ordinary life. Demented women, Cuban friends living in Centro Habana, relatives, they are all characters in a relationship which is never obvious.

PRESS RELEASE Beyond History

15/03/2009 Amsterdam

Possibly one of the most exciting photography books of 2009. In his book Beyond History - a mixture of photography, narratives, poems, collages and letters - photographer Vincent Delbrouck stretches the notion of documentary photography to its limits and then rips it apart. Lovingly, he recomposes and assembles reality then in such a way it may re?ect truth at its best. Beyond History

will be on sale from November 25th on.

Vincent Delbrouck, V.D. (Brussels, 1975) is an emerging photographer who not only uses photographs, he also makes use of drawings, paintings, writings and collages. V.D. assembles, recycles and recomposes elements of his personal history to create photo albums with different layers, baring his models as his own identity and memory. The result is what he refers to as ‘poetic documentary’. About Beyond History Media coverage and stereotypical discussions about places around the world have a major effect on people’s perception of ‘the others’ and their existence. Modern myths are being created all the time. This is especially the case when people, generally trapped in history and ideology, talk about Cuba and its political, economical and cultural landscape. V.D. fell in love with Cuba in 1998 and since then has visited the country six times. He befriended an Afro-Cuban family, explored the space, people, streets and the impossible relations all through different media -fake diaries, words, poetry, collages that were never finished- and through layers of different kinds of images, made by himself or collected.

V.D. also befriended Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, Cuba’s most famous and notorious writer, whose writing has been labeled ‘dirty realism’. Dirty realism is a North American literary movement born in the 1970s-80s, derived from minimalism. Beyond History recounts the lives of young Cubans in Centro Habana and is a stage for their voices. Fragments taken from their small, abandoned island in the city Havana, before the end of the Castro dictatorship. Somewhere between a photographic version of new journalism, the humanities and documentary photography, V.D. is like the author of an auto biography who - by filling up the undocumented blanks with his fantasy - reveals more about reality than merely the facts could do.

My photography (color photography, very often using a direct flash) seems simple and unsophisticated, unglamorous. It is very close to amateur portrait photography, but I do not consider these images snapshots at all. These intimate portraits are viewed and composed like paintings. Paintings of ordinary life and still lifes from a colorful biography in which I am not the principal character. I love to use the term poetic documentary to discuss my work. Something that is never finished, always recycled and definitely fragmented and anomalous, full of flowers, women and familiar bodies. Like a collection of poems, not a novel. I started to write on some pictures, to fill ‘fake’ diaries with images, writings, collages. I believe art should not document reality, but (re)compose it. It is a way of dealing with life and photography; the real and the imagined, the past and the present.”

V.D. has received the Memorial Giacomelli Prize 2002 (Italy), the Jean Salgaro Prize at the 14th National Open Photography Prize (Photography Museum in Charleroi, Belgium) and the Vocational Bursary (Belgium) in 2003. He has contributed to various magazines such as Purple Journal, Pavilion, CODE, Amica, Trace, Pig, nofound Pozytyw and View, and has exhibited his work in Paris, Brussels, London, Milan, Houston, Arles and Lyon. He is represented in Paris by Emeric Glayse. V.D. lives and works in Brussels. Beyond History exhibitions planned for 2009 : Photography Museum in Charleroi, ZPAF i S-ka Gallery in Krakow, Centro de la Imagen in Mexico All poems are written by Pedro Juan Gutiérrez. Beyond History is published by Bold Publishing, Amsterdam. ISBN 978-90-79854-01-1 Retail: € 39,50 including 70 X 100 cm art print, printed on 122 Japanese Kasadaka paper by Lecturis, Eindhoven.

++++Not for publication For more info, interviews and/or press images, contact: Fleur van den Berge at: Bold Publishing Amsterdam T: 020-408 55 11 F: 020-408 22 80 E: or check:

Vincent Delbrouck Beyond History Photography  

Vincent Delbrouck Beyond History Photography

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