Kurt Stallaert (1969) is a Belgium based contemporary artist.
In 2008 Kurt surprised the Belgian art scene with Bodybuilders' World (2007-2012), a remarkable photo series of appealing images that seduce and threaten at the same time: muscled men, women and children in an imaginary world. For this series Kurt travelled around the globe, not only to find potential bodybuilders, but also to capture the best and most authentic settings. His first collection of photographs was realized in Brussels and Prague. It was then in 2010 that Kurt travelled to Africa to continue working on the series with black bodybuilders. Bodybuilders' World was quickly picked up amongst galleries, online art magazines, private collectors and museums in Belgium and abroad. Later in 2010, a selection of his bodybuilders work was exhibited in The Weight Body at the renowned Museum Dr. Guislain in Ghent and the famous Ghent Art Fair. More exhibitions and shows followed soon after.
Further exploring the boundaries between the real and the surreal in photography, Stallaert soon began to discover the possibilities of moving pictures. In 2012 he began experimenting with high-speed photography, creating what he now calls moving stills: slow motion images that cross the lines between photography and film. By splitting a photo into a thousand images, high-speed photography allows a display of more than one reality at the same time. At a glance, we might think of these images as framed photos or video stills. It is only when we look closer and more carefully that we discover a picture moving in slow motion. With a dramatic tension between beauty and suspense, Kurt Stallaert's moving stills invite us to look, and look again, as if there is something about to happen. Or did it just happen?
In his work, Stallaert strives to cross the borders of imagination, go beyond simple aesthetics and make the everyday exceptional. With a sense for metamorphosis of the human body and a deceleration of time and space, Stallaert evokes tangible expression and emotion in both his photography and video work. His artistic endeavors take us into a modern mythology of a dreamy, imaginary universe that seems familiar, yet entirely inexistent. Balancing between reality and surreality, these images intimidate, inspire, threaten and seduce us, leaving the viewer craving for more.
Text: Veerle De Saeger (2013)
Curator's note: Kurt Stallaert´s moving stills is a unique approach to the image conceived through photography, created by combining aspects of both film and photography, though never quite settling as either. A high speed camera is used to create an extreme slow movement within a seemingly still picture, bringing the spectator the possibility of change inside a classically framed situation. Without the narrative of a movie or the stillness of a photo, Stallaert's moving stills is a fusion of two mediums with a focus on its key message - the picture.