Africa. The images of this continent are so strong that they easily lead a life of their own. The romance, exoticism and misery of this continent have been portrayed countless times in photo reports, anthropological picture books and documentaries. Even without actually visiting Africa, the imagery that surrounds it can be used to make an adventurous journey.
Africa’s photogenic elements have been used as backdrop for outrageous adventures and colourful characters since the 19th century, when newspaper articles were first published about the explorers’ forays into the dark unknown.
The search for the actuality behind this image led De Beijer to Ghana and Benin, where reality proved to be as exotic and at the same time mundane as anywhere else. Years later he revisited Africa, this time from the comfort of his studio. The artists’ report offers a journey along the almost surreal complex of images relating to the continent, without the usual search for anthropological or journalistic insight. In his studio, De Beijer constructed life-size dioramas of African savannahs, jungles en shady offices, populated by an array of exotic and intense characters.
They are featured in a photo series about Africa as we are accustomed to seeing it. People as tangible as the African soil, but infinitely remote behind the glass of the photo frame.