Carl De Keyzer
Belgium, born 1958
The vibrant color photographs from De Keyzer’s Zona series capture surreal images of life as a detainee in the post-Soviet prison camps. On a trip to Krasnoyarsk, Siberia he was introduced to Camp 27, a former gulag turned model camp that functions as both a prison and a propaganda tool, shown to visiting ambassadors and Western media crews to boast the merits of the post-Soviet penal system. At a destination that often conjures notions of frigid temperatures and bleak, lifeless landscapes, De Keyzer found the unlikely juxtaposition of inmates in army uniforms posed by Russian militia guards against a Disney-esque backdrop of cartoon-like statuary and vividly painted fairytales of knights and gladiators. De Keyzer’s photographs present bizarre scenes from the lives of real prisoners in a strangely fabricated reality.
In God, Inc., De Keyzer’s black and white images explore the various sects of Christianity that exist in the United States, the nature of their beliefs and how they are expressed. Traversing the country in a quintessentially American Winnebago, he photographed a number of congregations, including Midwest televangelists, Mormons staging bible story pageants in rural upstate New York, the “sons of god” religious motorcyclists at Bike Week in Daytona Beach and the Power Team of bodybuilders crusading for Jesus throughout Texas. With anecdotes accompanying his images, De Keyzer examines the drastically different and often-extreme ways in which people communicate with their chosen God.
De Keyzer became a full member of Magnum in 1994. In 1995, he won the National Award for Contemporary Art in Belgium. His work has been shown at the Fotoinstituut in Holland and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, among other museums. The City Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgium (SMAK) will be hosting his solo exhibition next year. De Keyzer’s photographs are included in several notable collections including the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Fotomuseum in Belgium and the International Center of Photography in New York. De Keyzer currently lives and works in Ghent, Belgium.