Manu De Caluwé

Manu De Caluwé

St Lucas School of Arts Antwerp

Manu de Caluwé’s work “Deze waanzin moet stoppen” deals with the content of his own family past and presents it in a documentary manner. De Caluwé who studied photography before entering Sint-Lucas, is active in the field of street and documentary photography. His works on display show written notes made by the artist’s grandfather, collected after ending his life in the act of euthanasia. The title refers to a sentence he wrote down on a piece of paper, organizing his death and also to the greek meaning of the word euthanasia ‚good death‘, holding the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain. Living a chaotic life, his grandfather was nevertheless highly intelligent, but alcoholism created a gap between him and his family. Over many years he lived a retracted live as a solitudinarian near the sea.

Especially during the last year of his life, Manu De Caluwé visited his grandfather to be able to connect with him again. The process of understanding and appreciation reflects in his work. By the sudden decision to commit euthanasia, the whole family was brought closer together. The artist reveals a very personal part of the family history in the shown works. The photographs represent notes referring to individual family members. His work shows an intimate moment of his family‘s history and makes it accessible to outsiders. The restrained and stable approach of representing the documents in a black and white manner makes the individual photographs, strictly linearly lined up, appear highly documentary and sensitive at the same time. In their reference to each other, the arbitrary notes form a whole, which thus captures the grandfather’s thoughts in his seclusion and solitude and makes them tangible for the recipient. Furthermore, the artist explores various ways of placing his photographs in sculptural contexts. Another work in process which deals with the same subject of “death” combines exactly this idea of the symbiosis of sculpture and photography.

© Lara Müller