Les Cracks & Vincen Beeckman, o.T. (Cracks), 2015-2020
6 1/2 Weeks – Les Cracks & Vincen Beeckman
Feb 17 – Apr 6, 2022
Museum Folkwang
ESSEN, GERMANY

With the show Les Cracks & Vincen Beeckman, Museum Folkwang presents a photography project by Belgian photographer and art mediator Vincen Beeckman in close collaboration with homeless people in Brussels in the series 6 1/2 Weeks. It is the first institutional exhibition of photographs by René, Frank, Jackie, Patti and other homeless people who used disposable cameras to document their everyday lives, their relationships, encounters, parties and friendships over several years. The exhibition is curated in close collaboration with Vincen Beeckman and four of the protagonists. The opening will take place on February 18 at 6:30 pm in their presence.

Between 2015 and 2020, Belgian photographer and art mediator Vincen Beeckman gave disposable cameras to a group of homeless people who live in and around Brussel’s main railway station. The approximately 750 resulting photographs are formally characterized by flash, drastic close-ups, unusual cropping, and show spontaneous scenes, selfies, moments of intoxication and immediate emotion. They are shots of moments “among themselves” and the roles of photographing and posing are taken without hierarchy and in interplay. The exhibition conveys a different, unbiased view of life under precarious living. The title Les Cracks, coined by Beeckman, refers to the colloquial expression “crack”, which means “champion”.

Together with René, Franck, Jackie, Patti and Vincen, the team of the Museum Folkwang’s Photographic Collection has selected around 30 photographs and staged them in the exhibition space. A four-page article documenting and reflecting on this process will be published in the art and homeless people’s newspaper Arts of the Working Class at the end of February to accompany the show. Framing the exhibition conception and production as a collective, multi-voiced act requires the search for and negotiation of possibilities of collaboration between the individual, the group, the institution and the public. The project was first published as a photo book in 2020 by Void Verlag.

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