I AM A DARK ROOM
a one-to-one installation-performance, 2022
Some stills from the screen being part of the installation-performance
This self-portrait is a study of sincere image composition, containing one's own body as a living sculpture. Karel places a frame around his own body and its interior space. His physical body, which is only a form, sometimes manifests itself merely in its essential formlessness. Landscapes appear within ourselves that disappear the moment we try to name or visualise them. Making the twilight zone between image and non-image experienceable is Karel's quest. By relating body, image and sound, in a room-sized multimedia performance that the visitor visits individually, a space of imagination is created through which his physically intimate inner world can unfold.
Karel sees his self-portrait as an exercise in authentic introspection. He uses it as an instrument to search for the interspace, between disciplines, between his own image and his inner world. How can you take distance from your body, looking at it objectively (as a maker), whilst simultaneously experiencing that same body subjectively (from within)? Where is the image of oneself formed; inwardly, in the created image or in the viewer? Where exactly does a self-portrait arise; does it show what it hides, or does it hide what it wants to show? As a maker, he places himself as a human being abiding by the laws of his own practice. The only way to embody the innate essence of himself in his work is a process of letting go of personal resistance, control and fear. This body idea of surrender and the search for emotional availability, in relation to one's own working method as a maker, is perhaps the only way to honestly look at oneself as a human being, through the lens of one's own artistry.
A self-portrait made in times when unhinged identitarian thinking reigns within the arts was not the initial plan. This extra dimension presented a challenge during the creation process. I deliberately transcend any typology or symbolic approach to the self-portrait genre; moving away from any kind of navel-gazing at one's own ego, autobiography or social representation.
Concept and embodiment, Karel Tuytschaever
Artistic collaborator for photography, Joery Erna
Artistic collaborator for sound design, Diederik de Cock
Artistic collaborator for photogrammetry, motion capture and 3D production, Wes Nijssen
Artistic collaborator for hair work, Alexander Kinds
Thanks to Peter Missotten, Immersive lab at AP Hogeschool, C-mine and LUCA School of Arts Genk
Co-produced by Royal Academy of Fine arts, Antwerp / AP Hogeschool, C-TAKT and DansBrabant
Made in residency at DansBrabant, De Brakke Grond, C-TAKT and Zuidpool
I AM A DARK ROOM is the finalization of the research project The transparent body, about the sincere body in contemporary portraiture (2020-2022).
The installation-performance was presented for the first time in November 2022, during a thematic three-day event around Karel's research journey at DansBrabant (NL).