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La Devinière

Si tu ne viens pas je te scalpe

Vincen Beeckman

delpire & co

AUTHOR BOOK AWARD Shortlist, Rencontres d'Arles 2023

Publication date : 2022/11/03
Weight 800 g / Dimensions 18.5 x 25.6 cm / 192 pages / Texts in French and in English
103 color photographs
ISBN 9791095821557

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This little universe either greets you or ignores you. You smile. You chat, you play chess. You feel cold for one, you suffer with another , you tremble with him. Everything is amazing and everything is natural.
Vincen Beeckman

Through his collaborative practice of photography, Vincen Beeckman succeeds in abolishing the distance with his subjects and invites us to meet the residents of La Devinière.

This institutional psychotherapy center, founded in 1976 by Michel Hock as an alternative to the psychiatric hospital, was created to accommodate some twenty children with mental disorders and deemed incurable. They still reside there today. Free to move around, the residents organize their days according to their needs with the guidance of an attentive therapeutic team.

La Devinière delivers an intimate and powerful account of the life and different states of mind of this group who have lived together for many years in this place designed for them. True to his committed photography practice, Vincen Beeckman takes the time to build sincere and solid relationships. Every week or so, he goes to the center to meet the “kids” as they are familiarly called by the therapeutic team that has been following them since they were young. He plays chess or Uno with them, participates in parties and birthdays, shares their dramas and anxieties, brings gifts and receives them. He shows them his photographs and keeps a diary which he often writes in their presence.

He meets “Jean-Claude, the strongest man in the world”, who trains to lift loads that he makes with anything he can find he finds; Eric, a construction genius, who designs, plans and builds plans and builds cabins; Laeticia, an AC/DC fan, who always has a new lover; or Vincent who tears up the photos and gives them to Jean-Luc, a puzzle of puzzles, who puts them back together…”.
The book alternates photographic sequences and extracts from Vincen Beeckman’s diary, reproduced in facsimile. The texts answer to the photos in a style style, almost telegraphic, telling the instantaneous, the absurd, the joys, the appeasements, the cries, the tensions, creations, games and loves. Their lives appear as the pages go by with a growing clearness. Raw, sometimes brutal. But subtly they meet the one of the common of mortals: we talk about hairstyles, shoes, confinement parties and vaccines.

Vincen Beeckman built this story with them. Jean-Luc, Philippe, Éric realized the image of the cover as well as the as well as the scenography of the exhibition which will be presented at the Arts and Margins Museum in Brussels. For the photographer, the important moment will be the one when everyone will discover the book and the exhibition.

This book was realized with the support of the program “Un Futur pour la Culture” of the Walloon-Brussels Federation (direction of culture, plastic arts) and the support of La “S” Grand Atelier, Centre d’Art Brut & Contemporain, Vielsalm.

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