Text: Joselito Verschaeve, Ligia Popławska
His upcoming book with VOID, ‘If I Call Stones Blue, It Is Because Blue Is The Precise Word’ is Joselito Verschaeve’s way to tell a story with the day-to-day encounters he experiences and relate them to the subjects that he’s invested with. By walking in between themes of literature, history, natural phenomena, and dystopia the artist creates images that can live in different contexts and that are able to carry the fictional narrative he’s portraying. Part of that practice is seeing the potential in his local surroundings and seeing if they can hold the idea of a different place, time, and context. And while the work is fictional, the images carry the idea of possible future events, threats, and repetitive history. While showing that the subject of dystopia and problematic times shines in its simple pleasures and appreciation of common living.
Joselito Verschaeve (1996, BE) is an artist living and working in Ghent, Belgium. In 2021 he received his master’s degree from KASK, Ghent (BE), and was selected for the Futures Talent Program.
What motivated you to start ‘If I Call Stone Blue It Is Because Blue Is The Precise Word’?
There was no preconceived idea of making this work. I am by nature someone who photographs all the time, so little by little the images started piling up more and more, and more often they started to work together. So I started putting them in InDesign files, made sequences, and then I understood that there was enough to make a body of work.
I read in your artistic statement that you work with an idea of an archive, where different themes are interchangeable, creating new narratives. Can you tell me more about your approach to photography and your intention with this project?
I’m not pinpointed towards one project or one place, but more to a few themes that I would like to put into images. That’s why I think the images often work together, no matter where I go. My intention was more or less to see if I was able to go to different places and still bring together a coherent body of work. And of course, there is more behind it, there are a lot of subjects that this project could talk about, from personal fascinations to literature, dystopia, and topical or future events, and I think that my upcoming book with VOID plays a lot with these themes and subjects.
In many of your images, we see almost dream-like or abstract elements, like rock, lava formations, a labyrinth, a blow of wind, and a ray of light. How do you choose places, subjects, and people to photograph? Can you share with us your photographic process?
There was no plan to go to certain places, I just happen to carry my camera with me a lot and photograph often. The subjects and places are mostly the things that happen around me at that time, and they happen to be subjects that I’m very much attracted to. But I do think that the mindset your in, or the subjects that you’re passionated about can change your surroundings a lot.
Some of the images like an egg between the rocks, or a bird’s head emerging from the sand remind me of an aesthetic coming from surrealism. Would you agree with that? Is there anything that inspires you particularly?
I agree, I’m very interested in ‘magical realism, these books come very close to common living but now and then something “extra” happens. I guess the same goes for the images I make, I draw everything from my day-to-day encounters but often include “extra” elements.
Soon you will be publishing this project as a book. Can you tell us a bit about the process of creating this publication?
I mostly photograph with the goal of bringing it all together in a book, it is for me the most natural way of presenting my work. And working together with VOID really brought the whole project together, they have a great feel for sequencing and designing books. They saw important elements in my work that I didn’t notice before and translated them into what is going to be my first book, so I couldn’t be happier working together with Myrto and João.