28/03 - 30/05/18

En français| NL versie


© Els MARTENS, series Stek, 2014-2016

In Dutch, the word “stek” means a fixed place.

My curiosity for places where people still live very close to nature drove me to go to Tasiilaq (formerly Ammassalik), in South-East Greenland, during the summers of 2014 and 2016.

The people of Tasiilaq live among hordes of huskies, aspread out around the village and its surroundings, either alone or in pairs, chained to posts outdoors. The dogs’ movements permitted by the chains scratch circles in the ground around their posts.

Thus, both humans and animals sculpt the bare landscape of this unique and unusual place with marks born of captivity.

In the never-ending summer daylight, you lose your daily rhythm and reference points.

The cycle of days gives way to an eternity that pushes you towards peace of mind and slowness.

Changing moods are born of the passage of time. The contemplation of the landscape’s beauty and openness changes from time to time to an oppressive feeling of isolation. In this unchanging environment, peace of mind can become anxiety and vice versa: by defining your territory you can create a cocoon as well as an anchor point.

Greenland also offers a raw version of a sedentary life.

This series of photos shows the fixed territories of some huskies and slowly observes the infinitesimal changes that take place between immobility and movement.

This repetitive environment can lead to boredom and monotony, but it can also sharpen your observational skills because you notice and value more any small changes that happen in that context.

If you stay in a place long enough, you begin to glimpse an infinite number of details and nuances against the same background. These details and nuances can be linked, mixed up and understood in a different way each time.

Els Martens
Translation: Chris Bourne.

Website: www.elsmartens.be

Els Martens, Stek

Els Martens, «Stek», Gent, Art Paper Publisher, 2018.
Text: Stefan Vanthuyne in French, Dutch and English.
Size: 28 x 21 cm, 42 pages, four-color printing.
ISBN: 9789490800789 - Price: 25 €