Is This the Poem I Promised You?: Richard Westerhuis

22 April - 1 July 2022

In his enigmatic photo series 'Is This The Poem I Promised You?', the Dutch photographer Richard Westerhuis (1965) subtly visualises the concept of domesticity. With the aid of dozens of sets and props, he reconstructs rooms in which something remarkable seems to have happened. The people in the story have disappeared, but what they have left behind speaks volumes and stimulates our imagination. In each photo of such a recreated room, the light is slightly different and new props can be seen. They raise many questions: Who were the inhabitants of this house? Why did they leave in a hurry? Did something bad happen there? Or is there another, much simpler explanation for why the rooms look so messy and empty?
By using the light in a very specific way and working with special colour filters, Westerhuis constantly creates a different universe with an atmosphere all of its own. In doing so, he shows us what it means to have a home base: the only place where you can be yourself. Westerhuis' recent series of photographs was inspired by the study La poétique de l'espace by French philosopher and writer Gaston Bachelard (1957), who discusses the imagination surrounding space and domesticity.