The photographer Jan Kempenaers is known above all for his large format panoramic views depicting industrial and urban landscapes in Europe, the United States and Japan. Kempenaers is fascinated by the hybrid nature of today’s landscape, and questions the notion of “picturesqueness”, developed in the 18th century to describe a liberated and diverse nature. His various series reveal a recurrent interest in the in-between, and the transitional state of cities. In 2002, for example, during a long journey in Japan, he photographed cities, villages in the environs, and suburbs, seeking to grasp how the natural and the artificial could co-exist in them. In 2004, he re-photographed the Flemish landscapes which Massart had captured 100 years before him, and, by finding the same viewpoints, he was thus able to gauge the changes. The series Spomenik (2007) tries for its part to capture what remains of the Communist monuments erected during Tito’s reign in former Yugoslavia. A sense of distance, quality of details, absence of trivial subjects, and semantic depth all largely hallmark his work.
The Belgian photographer Jan Kempenaers lives and works in Antwerp. He studied photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, Belgium, and at the Jan Van Eyck Academy at Maastricht in the Netherlands. His work has been shown in group exhibitions in Belgium, Holland, Shanghai, etc. The MuHKA (Antwerp) held his first solo show in 2001. In 2010, the Platform voor actuele kunst (Waregem) organized his fourth solo exhibition.