Fremin Gallery will open its doors to KAAIEN, the first New York exhibition for Belgium artist Didier Engels. After a career of more than 30 years in the research of textures (20 years as textile stylist and 10 years as interior design architect), Didier Engels has shifted toward photography. As a self-taught Belgian photographer, he started his photographic work ‘Dry Dock’ and ‘Kaaien’ in January, 2015.
One of the main features of his work on piers and containers is to divert visuals that are essentially graphic and colored. In order to give them a more artistic dimension, he removes all peripheral elements other than the subject itself. The arrangement and colors of the containers are those of the original shot. The ‘diversion’, or particular framing of the containers in post-production, enhances the existing graphic design and positions the subject as the main element.
The idea is to create confusion and challenge the viewer, who presumably will not have seen the original photo. The eye will be drawn first by the colors, the alignments and the graphic nature of the image. It is only afterwards that the eye will perceive the underlying element, namely, the container or boat hull. His work extends, during his exhibitions, into discussions with the visitors and the chance to explain the before and after of the works.
His chief interest is in the materials, patinas, alignments, colors, reflections and above all the graphic and geometric aspects of the world of quays. This personal vision highlights the strong features of his subjects by lending them an unexpected artistic dimension with a strong identity.
Such graphic captures are a veritable addiction for Didier, who has other themes in development for the future, even through the subject of ports is still far from exhausted.
Didier Engels: KAAIEN will be on view from January 13 to February 26, 2022 with an artist reception on Thursday, January 13th from 6-8pm. Fremin Gallery is located at 520 West 23rd Street, NYC.