A dialogue between the works by Stan Van Steendam and Middernacht & Alexander puts the focus on the self and how we experience ourselves in time and space. Whereas Middernacht & Alexander explore the communicative and psychological aspect of
the perception of the self, Stan Van Steendam focuses more on the influence of the space, location. Both artists are interested in how time will change the way you think , the way you experience things.
Sofie Middernacht (BE, 1985) and Maarten Alexander (NL, 1990) know how to find a perfect balance between form and content. They came together to form an artistic duo in 2016, a union that allows them to transcend the boundaries of the medium of photography, combining content that remains consistent, while continuing to adopt and adapt a versatile range of different materials. Their work is situated at the crossroads of spatial installation, photography, and sculpture.
With a long-standing interest in the uncomfortable relationship between intimacy and voyeurism, Middernacht & Alexander are per- fectly capable of investigating the psychological aspects of portrait photography. They reflect on how we look at ourselves, how we look at others, and how we look at works of art. The code word here is perception. Their innovations within the photographic medi-
um and their constant search for new models of presentation result in conceptually and materially complex works of art with unique aesthetics. The final result, the exhibition, is a participatory experience. The works do not exist without an audience; they help create an interaction with spectators, a dialogue.
Stan Van Steendam’s (BE, 1985) practice aims to deconstruct the materiality of painting, which he explores by way of an extensive process of layering raw pigments, plaster, and other matter, such as ash, dirt, and dust. His intuitive compositions command a unique physical presence in their space; they gently encroach, reaching out from their mountings to enter the space of the viewer. By placing emphasis on the physical presence of the object in the space, Van Steendam’s works become almost interactive in their approacha- bility. Viewers can observe the texture and tactility of the pieces from all sides, placing them in conversation with the audience and allowing for a heightened state of perception.
Van Steendam — who lives and works between Brussels and Portugal — is motivated by classical paintings and the work of other artists, but as well too, he draws much inspiration from the places where he chooses to reside and from nature; from lakes, water, cork trees, and dusty roads. He is situated currently in a studio in Lisbon, where he has been captivated by the influence of, he says, the light and skies; that which can be seen reflected directly in his recent output.