Musée de la Photographie Charleroi, Belgium - Solo exhibition 'Garage Stills & Fringe Nature'

Curated by Xavier Canonne, director of Musée de la Photographie Charleroi

June 3 - September 24, 2023

The exhibition features work from Jacquie Maria Wessels' analogue photo series 'Garage Stills' and 'Fringe Nature'. All new cars feature on-board computers and high-tech gadgets. This means that the very existence of old-fashioned garages is under threat. In light of this fact, photographer Jacquie Maria Wessels travelled the world to take a look inside traditional repair garages in Turkey, Cambodia, Russia, Poland, Morocco, Italy, Cuba, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Tokyo. When setting up her photographs, she tried ‘to combine’, she says, ‘the beauty and tension of the unknown and to rediscover the objects that make a garage what it is through an intriguing and pictorial still life’.

Whether featuring engines or the shells of stripped cars, the sense of abandonment that permeates the places that Jacquie Maria Wessels chooses seems in these temporary photographs to offer some respite between two moments in time. Everything that was once of use can be of use again, but in the first place as material for the photographer who draws from it her formal register, her ‘palette’ and the compositions she arranges. These garages, these workshops that she explored in various countries, are like small temples dedicated to mechanics, ingenuity and patience, temples on whose altars family portraits stand alongside topless calendar goddesses, their immaculate flesh offered up amidst the grease stains of workbenches, the only human representations. And yet everything evokes work, not the work of modern, automated industries and their aseptic decor, but the work of craftsmen, of patient repairs, the alternative to mass production.

Outside the workshops, in broad daylight, Jacquie Maria Wessels reversed the point of view: the periphery becomes the subject, at the cardinal points of the picture. The central space is now expressed in gaps, in backgrounds, suggested rather than detailed. As if we had to turn back to these buildings we just left for one last look, through the foliage or the railings it has taken over.

Address: Musée de la Photographie, Av. Paul Pastur 11, 6032 Charleroi, Belgium. Opening exhibition: June 3, 2023.

Selection of articles in the press:

Radio Interview with Jacquie Maria Wessels by Eddy Piron - Ramdam Musique, 06/2023