Joost Vandebrug

" When I saw the mountains for the first time, I thought they were clouds "

The exhibition is titled When I saw the mountains for the first time, I thought they were clouds, and spans fifteen unique works. The photos were all made between 2011 and 2018, when Vandebrug immersed himself in Bucharest’s street life.

The photos depict life on and under the streets of Bucharest in a raw and honest way. Six years on end, Vandebrug followed the daily life of street children and captured their hidden world in a series of images. For six years, he regularly returned to the Romanian capital. He captured the life of young Nicu and the other street children living under protection of Florin Hora, a.k.a. Bruce Lee. This resulted in the acclaimed film ‘Bruce Lee and the Outlaw’, launched in 2018 and winner of various important prizes at international film festivals. For the first time, Vandebrug is now showing a series of original photos in a very personal exhibition at Ingrid Deuss Gallery.

All of the photos are unique works printed on Japanese washi paper. The unpredictability and vulnerability of the paper, always delivering one-of-a-kind, pure and imperfect results, is closely related to the way in which Vandebrug experienced the project in Romania. The selection of the images that eventually get printed and exhibited is very personal as well.

The title of the exhibition is a quote by Nicu, a street kid who often appears in the images and with whom Vandebrug made a strong connection during those six years. As a result, the photos reveal both a raw, tough reality and love. The pictures are at the same time urgent, unique, subtle and involved.

After photographing the underground world for 6 years, Vandebrug is now working on a new series in which, in the form of unique landscapes, life above ground is his subject.

Artists: Joost Vandebrug