Are you part of those people who, every new day, when opening their eyes are face to a large immensity such as this one?
Wout berger is one of those lucky people. This artist comes from a small town of Uitdam. He has been a photographer for 35 years, he always has been interested in landscapes but in 35 years, this is the first time the photographer stops on the one which is yet in its scope since he was born: IJssel lake; IJsselmeer het, a lake he has a view from his house.
Berger took a lot of pictures of this lake, always from exactly the same view point. To be honest, there are 60 pictures in the series. Sixty pictures of the exactly same landscape, from the exactly same view point. I already can hear you saying “What’s the artistic point about that? Sixty pictures of a lake ? Come on.” Well, all the interest of his project “When I open my eyes” lies in this quote from the artist :
“In the morning, when I open my eyes, the first thing I look at is the IJsselmeer and the light: always the same, always different.”, said the artist.
First, it means Wout Berger lives in the subject of his project, the immersion is total and this, since 35 years. In a sense, he sees this lake looking always the same way because it’s nothing else than a lake. Infinity of water… but it also means that his vision of the landscape has changed over time. He explains in his book that he had at first this reflex of the artist looking for an interest in Beauty. He was first tried to find an “aesthetic” aspect to this landscape. Differences among the images are small so he was happy when, for example, had the view of lake with a boat which was passing by…
With a subject which was always the same… But soon, he realized that some sides of this landscape : waves, horizon, sun, patches of fog, clouds… were useful because the proof of a transition. The subject changed and is now, not more about aesthetic.
“I want to photograph wind, light—elements that we know only by their manifestations. You don’t see the wind; you see a wave. You don’t see light; you see the cloud that catches light.”, said the photographer.
This is it. The subject changed and the interest is not anymore in each picture, but in the differences among the photographs.
With this project, he wanted to reach what is physically impossible to achieve, but what we can perceive in the course of the 60 photos. You still with me? The lake remains the same but other factors such as the weather, for example, will modify the original landscape as it will be reflected in the water.
The idea of this project is so meaningful. I’m very sad because the exhibition ends in January and is in Tillburg so I can’t go… I will just staying there, watching the pictures, trying to imagine how it could be wonderful to watch it in a the large format.