Jasper de Beijer
The Brazilian Suitcase
May 18 – June 17, 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday May 18, 6 – 8 pm
Asya Geisberg Gallery is proud to present The Brazilian Suitcase, the latest solo exhibition of photography by Jasper de Beijer. A travelogue of imaginary expeditions in search of a lost civilization in the Amazon, the work is a blend of meticulous research, fictionalized narrative, staged photography, and virtual reality. The series expands on the Dutch artist’s familiar themes of the complex interaction of colonialism, “noble savages”, and the inevitable corruption and intermixing of opposing cultures. The Brazilian Suitcaseconsists of three distinct sets – black and white footage stills, smaller color works, and large color landscapes, with each series describing fabricated events occurring in 1926, 1979 and 2016.
In this time span of 90 years, De Beijer focuses on encounters between Western explorers and the native residents of the Brazilian jungle that show how both groups project their fears and desires onto each other, feeding carefully constructed myths. The expedition members, in their endless quest for the mystery of a lost civilization, leave a blueprint of traces in the forest; and in kind, each object, story, ritual or habit imported from the Western world becomes assimilated in the tribe’s mythology. The mutation that takes shape creates a distorted echo of Western culture. Eventually, lush nature engulfs everything, as the jungle erases historical specificity.
Based on numerous reports of explorers, anthropologists, and documentary filmmakers, the artist uses photographs and videos shot during his trip to the Amazon rainforest, combined with objects made in his studio, computer-generated images, and archival footage of real expeditions. The constant back-and-forth between the “real”, touched by the artist’s hand, and the imaginary, created via the magical alchemy of the computer, parallels the conceptual time-shifts and culture-clashes in The Brazilian Suitcase.
De Beijer shows us an endlessly repeating mechanism where it is impossible to escape one’s own point of view. Perception itself creates a blind spot, as the need to look beyond oneself becomes a necessity. Without didacticism, De Beijer’s rich oeuvre gives a poetic and enigmatic story that mirrors what we could find in any historical era, but especially now as labels and origins grow increasingly useless as markers or explanations.
Jasper de Beijer attended the Amsterdam Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, and the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht. He has exhibited widely throughout Europe and the United States. Solo exhibitions include The Hague Museum of Photography; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver; Museum Het Domein in Sittard, The Netherlands; the Museum de Hallen Haarlem, The Netherlands; Gallery Nouvelles Images, The Hague; Gallery TZR-Kai Bruckner, Dusseldorf; Hamish Morisson Gallery, Berlin; and the Empire Project, Istanbul. Residencies include The Instituto Buena Bista in Curacao and Kamiyama in Japan. His works are included in a large number of collections: The Bank of America,
New York; Coleccion Solo, Madrid; Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague; Eneco Collection, Rotterdam; Menzis Collection, Rotterdam; The Byron Cohen Collection, Kansas City; Collection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague; Diane Klein Collection, London; KRC Collection, Voorschoten; Nederlandse Waterschapsbank Collection, The Hague; Collection Regina Pinho de Almeida, São Paolo; Rabo Art Collection, Utrecht; and Jerome Stern Collection, New York. His work has been reviewed by Vice Magazine, The New York Observer, Artnet News, and Time Out New York, among numerous others.
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