Projects/ Een sta in de weg

Een sta in de weg

A translation of a personal history into a local technique

For Rethinking HOME Kevin van Braak - grandson of a secret agent in the Dutch Marines during the police actions in Indonesia - transposed historical black and white photographs taken at the time by the Dutch military onto Batik cloth. Hundreds of thousands of tiny dots in wax, made using a traditional Indonesian technique, cause the image to look like old newspaper photo’s. The image lost sharpness due to the enlargement and the quality of the 70-year old original. Pixelled onto cloth, it loses even more of its sharpness.

From close up you cannot see what it is, yet neither can you be certain from afar. Just like the history connected to the old photographs: no one has a clear understanding of what exactly happened. You are always looking at something you will never be fully certain of. 

Kevin van Braak’s work is set around politically and ideologically problematic issues. In recent years, he turned his attention to the visibility and invisibility of the display of power in buildings, people, location, and artifacts and how our historical consciousness functions in relation to the history behind it. He is particularly interested in reproducing, restoring and transforming ideological images and metaphors through sculptures, installations, events and performances. It makes it possible for him to touch political and ideological sensibilities, and in his most recent projects also a personal story, to
explain the histories of buildings, objects and contexts. Time tends to change events and how hard we try to keep the facts, the written and visual materials that witnesses to these events, seem to be subject to transformation. Through imitation, restoration, adaptation and transformation of these relics, he tries to give their historical development and (former) ideololgische features a voice through visualization and interpretation.