The Invisible Cowboy
Collaboration with Vincen Beeckman during Photo Brussels 04 at Hangar Art Gallery, Brussels.
Photos by Vincen, text by me.
For the PhotoBrussels Festival, Vincen Beeckman presents a series of still lifes captured during his trips through the United States. At the end of his journey, Vincen received by chance, in a motel in Utah, notebooks written more than ten years ago by an unknown writer.
Intrigued by the notebooks, Vincen asked Kasper Demeulemeester to go through them and rework parts of the letters into a text that could be shown to the public together with a selection of the photographs. "One of the interesting things about the notebooks is that they also contained loose papers, mostly lists. The writer, let's call him The Invisible Cowboy, must have added them while traveling through the US. One list was of people he collected, names, brief descriptions, and places where he met them. A second one was composed of all the things he ate along the way, which didn't seem like much, or he must not have been keeping track of his menu very well. Another one was peculiar. It consists of all the words the Invisible Cowboy didn't understand in Blood Meridian, the 1985 novel by Cormac McCarthy. In this novel, the story follows a young nameless rider, who joins a band of scalp hunters around the middle of the 19th century. As they roam the South-West of the US and the north of Mexico, spreading death and destruction wherever they come. It seemed interesting to add these words to the exhibition too, as they are all words that have been part in the creation of the (myth of the) American West. Cowboy words, murder words, words reduced to formal objects as their meaning was unknown to our writer." (Kasper Demeulemeester, 2019)