Jacqueline Mesmaeker

1929 - 2023

Born in Ukkel (BE).

Belgian visual artist Jacqueline Mesmaeker (°1929) begins her artistic career in the sixties as a fashion designer. She receives her degree from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels in 1967. She teaches at various of schools while applying herself as a visual artist, creating installations, videos and photography. On the side-line she continues to write, draw and design throughout her entire oeuvre.

Mesmaeker plays with space and time, with the visible and illusions. Her work is layered and structured, which allows her viewers to gain access to her thought processes. These trains of thought are largely defined by the relationship between the concepts “space” and “time”, both paved the way for an entirely new approach to the concept “image” since the invention of photography. Before this invention reality was a passing event. A person – or the artist – was the only one capable of attempting to capture reality in images, true to form or not. Photography led to images with anachronistic discrepancies: what is seen on paper is a “has been” that is “present here and now” (according to Roland Barthes). In this case the viewer becomes the connecting factor for the image, a link in an unbroken and linear space-time relationship. Perhaps this strange contradiction between spatial presence and absent time is the leitmotif throughout her work.

Jacqueline Mesmaeker’s images allow viewers to go on an imaginary time travel, while floating through uncertainty. Is it a memory or a recollection? A trail or a labyrinth, a dream or forgetfulness? She leaves all her options open by playing with the many aspects and empirical traits of photography: projection, print, duplicate, oxidation, fixation, petrification.

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