Erik Kessels: Album Beauty & 24 hrs of photos

Sarah Hundt

Erik Kessels’s “Album Beauty” and “24HRS of Photos”

07 Palais de l’Archevêché

One of the exhibits that we went to today was 07 in Palais de l’Archevêché which showed us the works of Erik Kessels.  The first exhibit was Album Beauty. When we first walked in, I didn’t really understand why there were copies of old photos on the walls.  After reading about his work it all made sense.  I connected with his two installations at this venue, because family photo albums is something that I’m very interested in.

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A copy of Erik Kessels description of “Album Beauty”

I definitely agree that Facebook and other mediums are allowing photo albums to disappear.  Before leaving for this study abroad I visited with my great aunt who shared some of her albums with pictures of my grandmother, aunts, and other family members in Belgium.  She made a comment about how she would probably just throw them away one day, because who would want them?  Both my dad and I raised our hands quickly.  This exhibit reminded me of that moment.  While the internet, cell phones, etc. might make photographs easier to be shared, they allow for the images to almost become less valuable.  The rarity of family photos is made into something common place, and not memorable anymore.

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“Album Beauty” – Old family photo albums

Along with the copied scrapbook/photo album images hung on the wall, there were installations as well.  In the middle of the floor was this stack of albums.  Their covers were dirtied and worn and while they were tied in stacks, they give off a sense of abandonment.

Paired with the lonesome, aged photos, was his second exhibit, 24HRS of Photos, in which he used pictures from social media (Flick’r), which were uploaded in a 24-hour period, and scattered them in a large room.  You can immediately tell the difference, solely from the colors that create the images as well as the shape that they are thrown haphazardly in. I definitely think that he somehow created a form that was placed under the photos to create a point more dramatically than having an album, or just having them on a flat floor.

This first image is looking down at the top of the picture “hill” and the second is looking up from below while Dylan, Andrea, and Elizabeth look down.

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“24 hrs of photos” from above

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“24 hrs of photos” from below

The biggest point to this piece is that the images are those people had uploaded to Flick’r in 24 HOURS!!!  While I did notice some duplicates, it still makes a good point.  So many pictures are uploaded, as Kessels said, “freely and shamelessly.”

This installment makes you think about anything that might be posted online.  Why do we really need to share so much online? And what determines if it is important enough to post?  One of the pictures I saw duplicates of was of carrots – who decided that posting a picture of carrots on a plate was a good idea/important.

What’s more important in the moment – family history or something you ate for lunch?

I’ll choose family history every time.

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