Meanwhile in Antwerp — Interview with Rio Staelens interview with Rio Staelens

What is your relationship to the medium photography?

Photography starts from reality, but it doesn’t necessarily show the truth. You can capture things and moments with a photographic apparatus which would never be visible to the naked eye. Time is an important aspect in photography, and you can stretch that time by using a slow shutter speed to expose things that are otherwise imperceptible. I like to explore perception, create images which aren’t really there. The act of creating an image is important, and the mixture of controlling all technical aspects and embracing chance at the same time. My interest is shifting more and more towards experiment and photography which explores the medium itself.

What role does publishing play in your artistic practice and in particular in your work Antrum?

An artist book is a portable, mobile exhibition that can live a life of its own. It is also a nice way to share your work. A book is the best form to show the old Lourdes grottos of Antrum. It has a certain narrative. It allowed me to mix my own images with old images by anonymous photographers, and for the first time I used text. Since it was my first book, it was a whole different medium, with endless possibilities, and a lot of decisions to make.


Rio Staelens — Antrum
Antrum — Rio Staelens
Rio Staelens — Antrum

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on two projects: Space, reflected is an attempt to evoke the idea of three dimensionality on the flat surface of a photograph. By using and manipulating elements inherent to the medium like light, shadow, reflection and colour, I aim to create another sense of space. For my other project I am experimenting in the darkroom making photograms.

Rio Staelens - fotogram ov#1
© Rio Staelens

Until now only in Black and White, but I really want to work with colour paper soon. Meanwhile I am examining different tactile papers and ways of folding for an edition I am working on. It shows a photogram which I scanned and colored. I want to present it as a folded poster with a sculptural quality.


To get a closer view inside Rio Staelens’ work visit her website under features the following publications by Rio Staelens