Lola Pertowsky — Creating contexts

Interview: Bob Vanden Broeck


Without context I would not have known you, you said softly
You made a square window with your fingers and looked through

— from Finnish Girls by Kira Wuck (translated by Heidi Steffes)

Why rocks?

I was fascinated by these rocks, both aesthetically and as objects. Sometimes these rocks are found in really strange places. How did they get there? Who put them there? It’s the start of something new, a movement. When I photograph, I let myself be led by the moment. I take a picture and then decide whether I am going to work on it. I collect all these images on my blog.

On this blog, I noticed that you’re interested in organic forms, in the way that colours and shapes move. This is also true of the rocks. How does photography as a medium relate to this dynamic?

In the end, these rocks have been placed by people. Some of them are still used. I took a picture of a rock on a square at the Porte de Hal, Brussels. People sat on that stone. So it’s about the interaction between people and nature. However, most of the rocks have no function, they were just moved. I use photography to try to understand how contexts change.

Is that why you chose this particular presentation?

By placing the photographs as physical obstacles in the space, there is an exchange of properties with what they depict. So photography allows me to create yet another context. These objects also relate to billboards. They make me to think about how my images relate to image culture in general.

Do you think that there’s a particular role reserved for photography in the public space?

I would love to work more in the public space with my photographs. When someone is waiting for a train on a platform, a surprising image placed there may really touch them. It can open up something in a person.

What is the context for the video installation?

Actually, the video screen is separate from the photographs. I wanted to explore a starry sky. How far can I see and how many details will the sky divulge? The link with the photographs was casual. You could see the rocks as meteorites that fell to earth. So it does create yet another context.

© Lola Pertowsky
© Lola Pertowsky
© Lola Pertowsky