Jan Rosseel on his exhibition Back-up

358 De Brakke Grond
In Back-up, photographer and ‘visual storyteller’ Jan Rosseel presents his fascination for our memory with a series of new works. On the basis of iconic images such as '9/11' or ‘napalm girl’ Kim Phuc, Jan Rosseel investigates the logic of visual media and the reliability of our memories.


How is our collective memory formed? What role is played in this by the media, our psyche and politics? These questions are central to the research by ‘visual storyteller’ Jan Rosseel (Brussels, 1979).

This research takes the form of a trilogy of exhibitions in three different locations under the title Back-up. The first of these took place in De Brakke Grond in Amsterdam and focused on ‘media’. The exhibition has now been reconfigured to focus on ‘psyche’. This can be seen in Museum Dr. Guislain in Ghent, then at the end of the year it will move on to Stroom Den Haag, where the focus will be on ‘politics’. 

Jan Rosseel

This video portrait gives an introduction to Jan Rosseel in De Brakke Grond. He talks about his fascination for collective memory and describes how the media is often used in a manipulative way to create ‘truths’. For example, Hitler had Goebbels ‘photoshopped’ out of a photograph, thereby falsifying history.

In his work, Rosseel also shows how Belgium’s colonial past has been explained to children in history books – and in the Tintin cartoons. More recent examples are also included: IS adopted its visual strategy from the American defense ministry. 

Trilogy exhibition Back-up

This video was made to accompany the first part of the trilogy, which was shown between 10 December 2016 and 29 January 2017 in De Brakke Grond. The second part can be seen from 11 March through 28 May 2017 in Museum Dr. Guislain in Ghent, and the third part will be on show in Stroom Den Haag from 2 December 2017 through 18 February 2018.

This is the first in a series of three videos about Jan Rosseel: Back-up. Click here for further information on the exhibition in De Brakke Grond.

Video credits

Video by Xena Maria Evers

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