January 31, 2021

What Remains When We Are Gone?

Oscar Van Heek

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PhotographyMultiverse, 2020

MULTIVERSE presents a series of ephemeral and surreal landscapes filled with bubbles rising up like the lost souls of the dead. It explores the fragility our own existence and that of the natural world and examines what’s left behind, once man has disappeared.

Using the metaphor and symbolism of the bubble – as seen in the Dutch ‘Vanitas’ still life paintings – these images allude to our own mortality and brevity of life.

Using analogue medium format photography, MULTIVERSE has transposed these ideas into the ruins inhabiting our landscape. Subjects include; St Peters seminary, morphed from an architects dream taking solid shape, housing the prayers of seminarians like bubbles rising up through the air; to being reduced to modernist ruin. Ghost like bubbles echo the past lives that once inhabited the building; desolate slag heaps, the remains of coal dust once fulling a power station leaving a mark of mankind on the landscape; ship wrecks on sea bed. The water having receded to seemingly show the last remaining bubbles rising up; WW2 anti tank bollards dotting a surreal coastal landscape, appear to haunt the landscape almost like abstract sculptures or memorials with bubbles to the many fallen in our defence.