Flemish Arts Centre De Brakke Grond presents The Dwarf Empire, the first solo exhibition by Flemish photographer Sanne De Wilde. The Dwarf Empire, a theme park in southern China, is home to 70 dwarfs, who give a show for tourists twice a day. In the exhibition, different realities rub up against, alongside and over one another. Who exactly is watching who? De Wilde reveals a diffuse role-play and shows us how the photographer herself becomes part of an artificial reality.
Join the opening of the exhibition on Friday 31 January at 19h00. Will you be there? Join the Facebook event.
The park was founded by property developer Cheng Mingjing to provide work for and offer a place to live to his vertically challenged brethren. Is the park a form of social service, or a kind of modern human zoo? Are the little people happy? De Wilde presents these questions in a visual puzzle, without providing any clear answers. She illuminates the layered reality of the park, from the fake ministerial titles held by the dwarfs, caged butterflies in a dilapidated butterfly garden to Chinese visual culture, which reaches even into the shared bedrooms of the dwarfs. An illusion that is just about maintained, even through the cracks are starting to show.
De Wilde is unexpectedly given a role to play in this universe. Being tall, with blond hair and blue eyes, she became the exception, the deviation from the norm. Both tourists and dwarfs transformed her into a character and a photo opportunity. In De Brakke Grond, she extends this complex role-play into the here and now of the exhibition space.
SANNE DE WILDE (1987) graduated with the book The Dwarf Empire from the KASK art academy in Ghent in 2012. The photo series won the Photo Academy Award 2012 in the Volkskrant Magazine and De Morgen categories, as well as the International Photography Award Emergentes DST 2013. De Wilde started working as a photographer for de Volkskrant this year. www.sannedewilde.com
In collaboration with: Bredaphoto
Mon to Fri 11h00 – 18h00
Sat & Sun 13h00 – 18h00
The exhibition is also open during evening shows in De Brakke Grond.
Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond