Ronny Delrue

Ronny Delrue : Arteriae

Christian Mosar

September 2016 

Roy Striker was the director of the Farm Security Administration (FSA). This administration was at the origin of the huge photographic archive which documented the years of the "Depression" and the American "Dust Bowl". It is also from the FSA archive that Edward Steichen pulled the photos for his exhibition "The Bitter Years", currently on view at the water tower in Dudelange. But Roy Stryker is also the author of one of the strangest iconoclasms of the history of photography. He used a puncher to perforate more than 30.000 photographic negatives of the project of the FSA, for reasons which remain unknown until today. Recently, these archives have been partially published, and photos perforated by Stryker were loaded by a new mysterious and fascinating quality.

By looking at the series of "memories revisited" by Ronny Delrue, we find similar holes made with a puncher on photographic portraits of anonymous children, but also on portraits of a young Van Gogh, punctured randomly, it seems. Beyond aesthetics of the disappearance of the fixed image, these images speak of a mystery which Ronny Delrue amplifies and extends in some of his paintings and drawings. He claims this back and forth between appearance and disappearance in the short text/manifesto on his website.

But while Stryker wanted to ensure that the punctured photographs wouldn't be subsequently printed, or used as a document, Ronny Delrue manages to enrich and densify his images, paradoxically by using a technique of perforation or obliteration (as for the series "lost memories" from 2006). This visual amnesia raises questions which stay without direct answers, but which create an aesthetic potential which leads us to imagine new episodes of a lost memory.


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