Vincen Beeckman (Brussels,1973)
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Represented by Jacques Cerami Gallery, Charleroi, BE

For Vincen Beeckman (b. 1973), collaboration is central. The photographer eschews the one-way photographer-subject relationship that defines so many photographic practices. Instead, he largely collaborates with marginalised and vulnerable individuals and provides visibility for communities otherwise unacknowledged.

Take Cracks (2020), a long-term project Beeckman began in 2014 in Brussels, Belgium, where he was born and still lives today. For this, Beeckman collaborated with a community of homeless individuals around Brussels’ Central Station. Facilitated by the alternative cultural centre Recyclart (and later published as a book by Void), where Beeckman previously worked, Cracks saw the photographer providing the community with disposable cameras. Instead of attempting to embed, he invited them to picture themselves, and the result is an unmediated record of their lives. The images are candid: documents of the exchanges between Beeckman and the community. And the connections between the homeless individuals themselves.

Beeckman's creative approach is intense. The people on whom his projects centre are not subjects. Instead, they become long-term collaborators and friends. However, for a fortnight each year, Beeckman resets. He flies to the US and road trips across it. The images he creates are different, focused on landscapes, and devoid of human subjects. He also photographs mini-golf courses — a hobby to which he is devoted.

Joy and lightness run through Beeckman's practice despite the challenging subjects he tackles. For instance, in his series Les Intimes (2014-ongoing), Beeckman photographed the Ansquer family: single-mother Marylène and her five children. He spent years capturing their daily lives in the former industrial town of Mons, Belgium. In reality, the family was struggling. But, Beeckman’s images hone in on their strength and vitality. Likewise, in La Devinière (2013-ongoing), the photographer collaborated with a historically ostracised group, allowing them to take ownership of their image. In 1956, La Devinière, occupying a farm bordering Farciennes and Fleurus in Belgium, was established to care for 19 young individuals experiencing mental health issues, many of whom remain today. The photographer visited the residence over several years. He worked alongside the residents to create an expressive and celebratory document of their otherwise marginalised lives.

The photographer’s work does not slip easily into a photographic genre. It is a constellation of many. Perhaps this is because Beeckman is a multi-faceted creative: an artist, a curator, and an educator. For instance, between 2014 and 2020, he organised the extra Fort evenings at Recyclart, collectively inviting hundreds of speakers to talk about photography across half a decade of themed evenings. And he also established the Fusée de la Motographie, a travelling museum of Belgian photography composed of 100 wooden boxes, each representing a different practitioner. Indeed, Beeckman is committed to facilitating exchanges and fostering creative communities in every element of his practice.


Hannah Abel-Hirsch, 2021.

selected solo shows

2023(Forthcoming), FotoMuseum Antwerp, BE
2022(Forthcoming), Le Vecteur, Charleroi, BE
2021Arts20+1 Vincen Beeckman, Woluminigolf (Wolubilis), Brussels, be
2020Partout ailleurs on dirait Marseille, ZEF, Manifesta Marseille, FR
2020Splendid, Vooruit Kunstencentrum, Ghent, BE
2019Claude et Lilly, Cerami gallery, Charleroi, BE
2019Claude et Lilly, APE, Ghent, BE
2019Histoires Belges, ZEF, Photo Festival Marseille, FR
2019Local Fototek Foundation, Recyclart, Brussels, BE
2018Espinho, Tique Art Space, Antwerp, BE
2018Eric et moi, Office d’Art Contemporain, Brussels, BE
2018Je pense que vous êtes plusieurs, Le Château d’Eau, Toulouse, FR
2018Resto chinois (Part II), Eté 78 gallery, Brussels, BE
2018A Castle Made of Sand, Fondation A Stichting, Brussels, BE
2016Si tu ne viens pas je te scalpe, Galerie Jacques Cerami, Charleroi, BE

selected group shows

2022(Forthcoming show with La Devinière), Le Botanique, Brussels, BE
2022(Forthcoming), BPS22, Charleroi, BE
2021Bruxelles Universelle – Multupli.city, Centrale For Contemporary Art, Brussels, BE
2019Amour, No’Photo, Geneva Photography biennial, CH
2019The invisible Cowboy, Le Hangar, Brussels Photo Festival, BE
2018Dry and Spicy, A Galerie, (with Alex Webb), Brussels, BE
2017Marge, FotoFabrik Bln Bxl gallery, (with Frederico Azevedo), Berlin, DE
2017Private Choices, La Centrale électrique, Brussels, BE
2016The Gang, Summer of Photography Biennale BOZAR, Brussels, BE
2016Next Generation Please, BOZAR, Brussels, BE
2015Atopolis, (curated by Wiels), Mons European culture capital

selected books

2021Les éternels (with Nicolas Polli), published by Ciao Press
2020Cracks, published by VOID
2020Le petit Rempart, published by Macaroni Books
2020Filip Anneessens, published by Recyclart
2019Claude et Lilly, published by APE

Public space exhibitions

2021Pikuur, (Solo show curated by Centrale for Contemporary Art), Saint-Pierre Hospital, Brussels, BE
2021Kiel, Fotomuseum Antwerp, BE
2007Metro Station Anneessens, Brussels, BE

awards and grants

2021Grand Prix Image Vevey (Shortlisted)
2020Bourse Futur pour la Culture, Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles (Grant)
2018Platform Project, Fotomuseum Winterthur, CH (Selected Artist and final nominee)

others

2002 - 2020Visual Arts artistic Director, Educational Facilitator, Recyclart, Brussels, BE
2020Eating manifesto, “A dinner with Franky and Johnny”, Recyclart, Brussels, BE
2014 - 2020Extra Fort (series of photography - themed evenings - invitation of 240 photographers / editors / curators)
Recyclart, Tipi Bookshop, Pinguin Space Project, Botanique, CFC, Brussels, BE
2014 - 2020Fusée de la Motographie (Travelling Photography Museum) – Founder and performer
Fotofestiwal Lodz Pologne, CNA Luxembourg, C/O Berlin, Le Bal Paris, FOtoMUseum Antwerpen, Wiels
2019Performance show with Marie Papazoglou “Soirée Belge”
Rencontres de la Photographie, Temple Arles Books, Arles, FR
2019Workshops, Summer Camp Photography, ISSP Festival, Riga, LV
2007 - 2015“Fotomaton” (Moving Human Photobooth – 14000 pictures collected), Brussels, BE
2010 - 2013“Bewoner van de Maand”, Participative project in collaboration with Netwerk, Aalst, BE