Exhibition @ The Ravestijn Gallery
Saturday 2 February 2019 - Saturday 16 March 2019
The Ravestijn Gallery presents ‘LOVE ME’ by Robin de Puy. The portraits in this exhibition have nothing in common at first glance. From a model named Birk on his way to fame to Randy, an adolescent boy who grows up in Ely, Nevada. There are portraits of young people and of elderly people, of broken shopping trolleys and of worn out hands. Beautiful and ugly. But does ugly actually exist? Not in the images of Robin de Puy. She finds beauty in what others regard as unsightly.
Unexpected, moving beauty is what links the photos in the exhibition ‘LOVE ME’. And in every image De Puy is present. As a photographer she determines who participates in her photographic world, she is the director. And in her world everyone has a very specific, undeniable beauty.
Robin de Puy is consistently confronting our preconceived ideas of who belongs and who does not, who meets the social norm and the prevailing ideal image. And last but not least, she is confronting herself. She recognizes herself in the people she portrays. The vulnerability that you feel as an adolescent, when you are insecure and anxious and you wonder whether others will accept you. The fear that life sometimes evokes, the desire to be seen and to be loved.
Should you like to receive more information and/or images do not hesitate to contact the gallery.
A letter to Lynch
Last night, my boyfriend’s eight-year old daughter puked in her bed. She did yell for me, but stopped at, “Robin, I am siccc…” There was no need to run for the bucket. A thick sludge, containing potatoes, meatloaf, broccoli and yoghurt appeared from her mouth and ended up in a pretty solid shape on her pillow. In the morning she snuggled up against me and said, “My vomit had the shape of Holland”. Pretty creative, I figured. “Rorschach!” my friend yelled. “Lynch!” I shouted.
Earlier that week, I had seen an interview with you, done by a student - I’d say - in Pennsylvania: “If you don’t know what it is, a sore can be very beautiful. But as soon as you name it, its stops being beautiful for most people.”
Interviewer hesitates and asks, “A sore?”
“A sore in the skin, an infection, a deep cut with puss, and… with discoloration. But if you took a picture of it, a close-up, and you did not know actually what it was, it could be a great beauty of organic phenomenon.” Interviewer: “That’s… actually very true… Next question.”
I fully recognize the wish – or tendency – to see wounds as symptoms consisting of matter and colors, without labelling it immediately. But for seeing things this way – or in a different way most people see it – I need my photography, I need a goal. Without it, I don’t dare to pursue it.
Another example. Walking on a crowded market in Paris. Suddenly I saw a small, fragile looking man walking in front of me in a suit that is about two sizes too big. Cap on his head, bag in his left hand. When approaching the litter bin on the left side, he took the bag cautiously to his other hand and shambled on slowly, but with a clear goal. The oversized suit, the fragile body… he was very affectionate. I wanted to rush in from behind and fumble him up. Not fumbling in a nasty way, more fumbling as in squeezing, hugging him very hard. Just squeeze him so hard that he would get even smaller. So small, that I could take him with me in a little box. I did not do it. I would like to be someone who does those things.
I am curious if you – besides making your art – have the urgeto squeeze someone spontaneously in his or her chubby cheeks (like agent Dale Cooper does with the mechanic in the beige overall). If yes, would you actually do so? Or is this only present in your work? Could you – apart from your work – look at a wound with pus or vomit in the shape of Holland, with the same interest and fascination?
Are you what you create? Or would you like to be what you have created?
Awaiting your answer,
(published in Focus Magazine Nov 2018)