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Jan Kempenaers

I’m not tailgating, I’m drafting

All photographs were taken by Jan Kempenaers in 2010 during a road trip through the southern part of the United States, from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The images were shot with an advanced hand-held digital camera, which allowed him to work freely in a snapshot style whilst maintaining a very high quality. Within the context of Kempenaers’ oeuvre, this new work underlines his desire to shift further toward abstraction instead of documentary work.

23 x 17 cm
32 p.
500 copies, including a color lambda print (164 x 219 mm), signed and numbered by the artist


This book, together with his previous book Spomenik (Roma Publication 141, 2010) present the results of Kempenaers’ practice based research on ‘contemporary picturesque’. Dirk De Meyer, quoted from this book: Yet, even when gratifying due to their composition and their living tints and endless varieties, Kempenaers photographs of landscapes altered by man forestall the nostalgia that has, over time, become typical for the picturesque. They force the viewer to remain in the present and think about its conditions and its future, and about the forces threatening our environment. Using Gilpins topoi of the picturesque – which, by now, are themselves  »classical » – Kempenaers’ images confront us with the picturesques slightly disconcerting aspects. As one visitor of the 1975 New Topographics exhibition at the George Eastman House observed, the photographs on display were saying « This is it, kid; take it for its beauty and its ugliness. » Design: Roger Willems

33,5 x 26,5
80 p.
Reliure cartonnée, jaquette


Photographs of abandoned monuments in former Yugoslavia. Willem Jan Neutelings, quoted from this book: « The Antwerp-based photographer Jan Kempenaers undertook a laborious trek through the Balkans in order to photograph a series of these mysterious objects. He captures the Spomeniks in the misty mountain landscape at sundown. Looking at the photographs one must admit to a certain embarrassment. We see the powerful beauty of the monumental sculptures and we catch ourselves forgetting the victims in whose name they were built. This is in no way a reproach to the photographer, but rather attests to the strength of the images. After all, Kempenaers did not set out as a documentary photographer, but first and foremost as an artist seeking to create a new image. An image so powerful that it engulfs the viewer. He allows the viewer to enjoy the melancholy beauty of the Spomeniks, but in so doing, forces us to take a position on a social issue. » Design: Roger Willems.

33 x 24
64 p.
Reliure cartonnée, jaquette