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Bacqueville - De Beyter & Denis-3560 - HD.jpg


David De Beyter x Raphaël Denis

There is no more telling figure of speech than this antithesis, from which night shines forth, when it comes to contrasting the works of Raphaël Denis and those of David De Beyter.

Raphaël Denis invites us to rethink the grey areas of history, those moments from which we have drawn too few conclusions: the spoliation of Jewish collectors by the Nazis during the Second World War, the various works censored throughout the world, the autodafé of books. The process of negating one form of knowledge or another is at the heart of this research. What remains of these despoiled works, these burnt books, if not the now eternal mark of their absence? This mark is inscribed in graphite on the works; ESM18, KRO5, LB108 are all acronyms that give substance to the property of Diana Esmond, Joseph Kronig and Mr and Mrs Levy de Benzion, all Jewish collectors during the Second World War. Drawing on the referencing work carried out by Rose Valland when the works left France for Germany, Raphaël Denis has come to consider a second series as essential: Vernichtet. This series, which can be translated as "Destroyed", highlights the paintings that disappeared as a result of the spoliation, those of which nothing remains, those that now shine only in the mind of those who observe a Vernichtet, the ghost of a work that has disappeared forever, to which Raphaël Denis gives substance with power and simplicity.

​This aesthetic of disappearance is the vernal point of David De Beyter's work. Between documentary and experimental photography, his work is based on contemporary sociological phenomena such as big bangers and ufology.

Big bangers is a community grouped around a common activity: car crashes. After having followed this community for several years, David De Beyter recounts its actions through a series of photographs featuring forms in transition, the sometimes incandescent relics of these open-air happenings. These remnants are like symbols of a society lost between exaltation and disillusionment in front of a world in flames. When it comes to venturing into the field of ufology - the study of UFOs - David De Beyter takes a different approach. He translates the controversies associated with this practice by using his hand to work directly on the negative. He scratches, rubs and projects, creating visual artefacts whose ambiguity gently and poetically calls into question the veracity of the images we are shown. The anticipated relics of the goddess Technology.

These two artists take us as close as possible to the shadows that punctuate our history, through radical works that are luminous in spirit and from which the night shines.

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