Dutch artist, Joost Vandebrug, works across photography and film and studied at the Gerrit Rietveld University in Amsterdam. His narrative work portrays spirited realism that engages on both social and emotional planes. His documentary film in which he follows a group of adolescents for 6 years that inhabit abandoned tunnels in Bucharest, resulted in over a dozen international awards and was screened in over 50 film festivals around the world.
Vandebrug's photo-based works include both conventional and unconventional printing techniques such as pigment transfers and silver-gelatin prints, both on the hand-made and hand-coated Washi as well as the more traditional Barite papers. The susceptibility and fragility of the Japanese paper (Washi), which often parallels his subject matters, led to Vandebrug's embrace of imperfection and accidents that go against the photographic tradition of producing and preserving unblemished prints.
His book, Cinci Lei, published by Dust Magazine, is about a group of street children in Bucharest that he calls the Lost Boys.
In July 2018, Vandebrug released his first feature-length documentary Bruce Lee and the Outlaw, which was premiered at Sheffield Doc/Fest and is currently screened at several film festivals around the world. The film is produced by Grain media and executive producer Noomi Rapace. It was shot over 7 years and features some of the same protagonists as his book Cinci Lei.
ARTIST STATEMENT - EXHIBITIONS PROVENANCE 2014-2019
The Danube river has become the crux of my new series Provenance, it flows through the story as an irreversible passage of time. Abandoned and quiet landscapes, formed by the limitations and boundaries of the river, are the perimeter of my journey. I observe and photograph the interaction between human and their urban and natural environment.
The process continues in the studio where, due to the brittleness of the paper I choose to work with, the photographs often get damaged, torn or distressed. These accidents and bruises are showing the mechanics of the process that normally stay invisible - they are imperative and make the final object feel more alive.