Matthias Van Dromme | Bruges, Belgium


Short Bio:
Born in Mechelen, Belgium in 1988, Matthias Van Dromme studied Visual Arts/Photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Gent. After graduating, he started working in the film industrie as a lighting technician and is also closely involved with two artist collective’s (Kuiperskaai, NeedCompany) in Brussels. “Kupa-Piti: White Man in a Hole” is his first finished project.

What is your work about?
The central theme in the portfolio “KUPA-PITI: white man in a hole”, is the absurdity of life.

This series has been made in a small town named Cooper Pedy, in the middle of the Australian dessert. Also referred to as the opal capital of the world. Many of its first inhabitants were migrants from southern and eastern Europe after the Second World War in search for the precious Opal-stone. Due to the sandstorms and the harsh summer desert temperatures they built their homes into the mines. The Aboriginals describe this phenomenon with the term Kupa-piti witch translates to ‘white man in a hole’.

Today, in a world where science and technology reached a never seen peak, these fortune seekers still live like cavemen, desperately seeking fortune. You have the impression that these people are trying to escape something; That the mine is a retreat that is detached from reality. To live in total isolation to find a rock – it’s the raw reality that dreams can be reduced to it. It is the confrontation with extreme banality. Can you stop, can you still get back? Or, no questions will be asked here.

Is this the eternal return of Nietzsche, or the existentialist myth of Sisyphus, which represents the absurdity of life? Is the goal of finding these precious stones inherently meaningless? Is the challenge faced by these people to refrain from despair?

Or should we consider Albert Camus conclusion in his essay “The Myth of Sisyphus” that, “one must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

How does photographing on film (or using your material photographic process of predilection) inform your artistic practice?
Photographing on film informs my practice in the classical way of time. For the portfolio Kupa -Piti: White Man in a Hole I worked with a Pentax 6/7. The weight, height of this camera and the limited amount of photographs on one roll makes you work slower and therefor gives me more time to think about my images.