David Claerbout

Kortrijk (B), 1969



David Claerbout (born 1969, Kortrijk, Belgium) is one of the most innovative and acclaimed artists working in the realm of moving images today, his oeuvre exists at the intersection of photography, video, 3D and new media.  

He trained as a painter, but became more and more interested in time through investigations in the nature of photography and film. Fusing together the past, present and future into stunning moments of temporal elasticity, his works present profound and moving philosophical contemplations on our perception of time and reality, memory and experience, truth and fiction.

Since the first videos from the mid-1990s, his work rapidly gained complexity, and with the introduction of digital media in early 2000 it evolved into a practically completely synthetic image practice, which put him at the forefront of new media art. In relation to that “synthetic image”, David Claerbout coined in 2018 the term dark optics, defining the changes within our image culture and the future of lens-based media. His thesis is that with the switch from analogue to digital lens-based media has increasingly become a product of AI, big data, etc. putting increasing pressure on the trust system promoted by the photographic image. David Claerbout is particularly interested in the effects of digital images on our “metabolism”: i.e. how our physical and sensory reflexes change in response to stimuli in an increasingly digital environment. 

He has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions internationally, including: Garage Museum, Moscow (2021), Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague (2020); Kunst Museum Winterthur (2020); Kunsthaus Bregenz (2018); Schaulager, Basel; MNAC, Barcelona (2017); Städel Museum, Frankfurt; KINDL, Berlin (2016), Marabouparken Konsthall, Sundbybert, Sweden (2015); Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2014); Secession, Vienna, Austria; Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel; Parasol unit, London (2012); SFMOMA, San Francisco; WIELS, Brussels, Belgium (2011); De Pont museum of contemporary art, Tilburg, The Netherlands (2009) and (2016); Pompidou Center, Paris, France (2007); Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen, Switzerland (2008); and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (2005).