Geertje Brandenburg

Geertje Brandenburg. An Inherited Haunting, (detail), 2023.

Year granted: 2022 Website: Part of Prospects

Time and identity play a recurring role in the work of Geertje Brandenburg (1998). She questions the uniqueness of human beings, and researches how the stories and characters from her own family resonate in her own life. By placing herself on the same level as her characters, present and past, and fact and fiction intermingle in her work. In this way she creates new stories that contain various versions of reality.

As part of Prospects, Brandenburg is showing An Inherited Haunting (2023). This is a cinematic and surrealistic installation about a long-abandoned house that seems to have been overtaken by a small army of snails. In various ancient cultures snails symbolize time and eternity. Crawling across walls and furniture, in this work they appear to primarily emphasize the emptiness of the space, while at the same time bringing it back to life. The same applies to the trickling water that seems to capture the transience of time in the traces it leaves behind. Brandenburg grew up in a family of collectors and is sensitive to the signs and stories of previous owners in every object she comes across. For this installation she was inspired by the home of her grandfather, a place that regularly haunts her dreams. Earlier, her grandfather himself was the subject of her publication Summerhouse (2021) which was based on photographs as well as the letters he wrote from Germany where he was forced to work during the Second World War. A history that, like this house, she has pulled into the present.

Text: Esther Darley

Translation from Dutch to English: Marie Louise Schoondergang