MARIE WYNANTS AT HAVN GALLERY
2016 was a successful year for photographer and visual director Marie Wynants. The 23 year old received multiple awards and nominations for her work as a video director and was selected for the 2016 International Photo festival of Knokke. This young talent is welcomed with open arms in both the Belgian music and fashion scene. She has been shooting for bands like Oscar And The Wolf, Bazart and Soldier’s Heart and for fashion brands like Ann Demeulemeester and Maillôt Léotard. Currently she is working at a campaign for Delvaux. Marie ends this year in beauty with an exposition at the brand new Antwerp HAVN Gallery. An excellent opportunity to get to know the work of this rising star.
Busy bee Marie Wynants is constantly travelling between Ghent, her hometown, and London, where her boyfriend lives. We called to the other side of the canal for an interview. Some girls have all the fun!
This Is Antwerp: Marie, your photographs and video work are very stylized and polished. Young, beautiful girls mainly populate your artistic world. Is the esthetical and formal your main focus?
Marie Wynants: “Indeed my work is very aesthetic. But next to shooting a beautiful picture I always search for a certain sense of alienation. I consider myself a voyeuristic photographer. I love to tease the models or musicians in front of my lens and to explore how far I can go before poses become both physical as psychical uncomfortable. The results of this process of imbalance and detachment are often estranging, almost surrealistic images. For instance, look at my pictures of models in latex suits of which some cover their head completely. These attributes abstract the body and create a kind of absence that I like.
This process of creating a feeling of unease applies also to me, the photographer. In that way the viewer can discover in my pictures also a representation of me through my models. But in the heat of the action I’m not consciously thinking about this. I work very impulsive and organic.”
TIA: You’re used to showing yourself to the public: you were a dancer before you focused on photography. Can you explain the link between this background and your photographic work?
Marie: “Whether I’m shooting a band, a fashion campaign or a plain still life, I always start from a focus on the human body. The analysis of movement and moving bodies is the core identity of my work. I preserved from my period as a dancer also a strong feel for aesthetics and a clear eye for detail.”
TIA: You used to suffer from epilepsy. Nowadays you call yourself a ‘post-epileptic photographer’. Why is it important to you to link this disease to your work?
Marie: “Epilepsy has influenced my whole being. On a professional level, this disease has triggered my impulsive way of working and dynamism. My pictures often burst of energy and are noisy, full of life and color. Since I don’t experience any seizures anymore, hence ‘post-epileptic’, I have the feeling that I only bear the fruits of this disease.
My spontaneous way of working is very important to me. I always do what comes to mind on the spot and solely rely on my gut feeling. I chose my subjects and poses because they fascinate me at that moment. Often these are friends of mine, like Max Colombie of Oscar And The Wolf.”
TIA: For whom you directed ‘The Game’, a clip that was nominated for Best Video at the Red Bull Elektropedia Awards 2016. You’ve also made music videos for other artists and bands like Bazart and Charlotte de Witte. Do you see your future self growing more towards video directing instead of photography?
Marie: “I want to take the viewer on a journey into my world. I’ve been working with video for two years know and it is the perfect medium for achieving that goal. My videos often have the feel of a hypnotic dream. But I’m more familiar with photography and I think this will always be my main focus.
I’m not thinking about what the future will bring. I’m happy with where I stand for the moment. I get super divers offers both in the music as fashion industry. Creating a good portfolio is my priority now.”
TIA: Of which we will see a glimpse at HAVN Gallery. What can we expect?
Marie: “The exposition will give an overview of my older and more recent work. Both private work as work in commission will be shown, between which there is little difference. Again, I made the selection based on my gut feeling. Afterwards I noticed that I’ve selected a lot images in which the feeling of alienation is very present. The faces of the models are often absent or their eyes avoid the camera. This creates a very intense, dark atmosphere of which I was not aware during the selection process. Maybe the dark winter days have something to do with it.”
More Marie Wynants?
Marie Wynants' exhibit is opening on the 15th of December, at 7pm. The exposition will run from the 16th until the 15th of January 2017.
HAVN Gallery (Geuzenstraat 5, 2000 Antwerp) is open from Wednesday until Saturday from 11am until 6pm, and exceptionally on Monday the 26th and Tuesday the 27th.
Also check out www.mariewynants.com. Crank up the volume to totally get lost in the world of Marie Wynants.
Text by Saar De Permentier
Pics by Marie Wynants