Mer du nord. Nieuport
Vintage gelatin silver print. 7.2 x 23.9 cm. Photographer's stamp on the verso. - The lower edge irregularly torn by the artist..
The fact that only a comparatively small public knows the photographs by the artist Serge Vandercam, born in 1924, can be explained by the fact that the time-span of his photographic oeuvre covers only very few years. He created his first experimental works in 1948 but merely five years later, Vandercam gave up photography in favour of painting and sculpting. Regrettably, one would like to point out, because in this short creative period a unique photographic image cosmos emerges, with which he occupies a singular position within Belgian photography at the time. Positioned between the experiments of the surrealists, namely Man Ray and Brassaï, and the Subjective Photography of Otto Steinert, these photographs testify to an extraordinary keenness for experimentation and lack of inhibition in his handling of the photographic material. According to the tradition of surrealism, in his works, the self-taught artist Vandercam, a member of the artist group CoBrA since 1949, exonerates photography from its function of representation and implements it to create highly poetic images that irritate the viewing habits of its viewers and simultaneously clears the way to free imagination.
This is particularly true of his 'Mer du Nord. Nieuport' photograph in which he captures the remains of military equipment from the Second World War left behind on the beach. In the close-up, isolated from its context, the pictorial object loses its legibility and, in return, gains its very own three-dimensional energy, comparable to the Sculptures Involontaires by Brassaï.
Inventory no. 219
COBRA. COpenhagen BRüssel Amsterdam, exhib.cat. Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung München, Munich 1997, ill. p. 201 (cat. 164); Serge Vandercam. Photographe Cobra, exhib.cat. Musée de la Photographie à Charleroi, Charleroi 1998, ill. p. 24; Serge Vandercam. Cobra fotograaf/Photographe Cobra, exhib.cat. Samuel Vanhoegaerden Gallery, Knokke, Knokke 2002, n. pag, ill.