The Bride Unveiled, 2019-…

Making of picture by Sofie Baert

The Bride Unveiled is a story about the Cardinal and his nephew Linlin. While the first finds the Virgin Mary in an ecstasy, the second finally finds love in the arms of his Bride.

In his newest project “The Bride Unveiled”, Bart Ramakers unfolds an intriguing story about life, religion and art. Encounter Cardinal Grüber, his derailed exhibitionistic niece Carmencita, her brother Linlin (a former reporter for “Le Petit Vingtième” whose last adventure played in the art world, where he is stuck ever since), the tempting sisters Symphoriana and Esperanza, twin detectives, Captain Iglo… These almost iconic characters live surrealistic adventures in exciting cities like Paris, Venice, Brussels, where a scent Duchamps and a whiff of Broodthaers is never far away. This time, there are not only the images (as opulent as ever): the accompanying text in the illustrious tradition of Marcel Mariën makes interpretations even richer and more layered – or would you say more confusing?

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.”

– Federico Fellini

Selfportraits, 2020.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, the production of large complex photoshoots with international models became suddenly impossible. While the quarantaine permitted the development of a lot of new creative ideas, it made the realisation of most of the photographic ones impossible… except for this captivating series of self portraits, reflecting on the very nature of being an artist itself.

Metamorphoses, 2018.

Metamorphoses

“Everything changes, nothing is lost” is the motto of Ovidius’ Metamorphoses (1 after Christ). And indeed, in this bundle of myths, gods turn into animals, people change into constellations and flowers and rivers … but nothing is lost. Ovidius also shows that love and lust are the driving forces behind the behaviour of the gods. Adonis was loved by Aphrodite and Persephone, but was murdered by the jealous Ares who disguised himself as a wild boar. Anemones sprouted from his blood. The sportive Hyacinthus was loved by Apollo, but the jealous Zephyr blew a discus the wrong way and the dying Hyacinthus instantly changed into a bunch of flowers of the same name. Test your knowledge of the classic stories, and be overwhelmed by the meter-sized scenes.

Ex Tenebrae, 2017.

A reflection on the true nature of art, alongside the visual themes of the Anatomy of Beauty.

AUTOPIA™, 2016-2019.

Y.O.L.O.-Sentimat™

After millennia of civilisation, humans still suffer from a multitude of problems due to their inability to cope with themselves, the other(s) and society in general. Since these issues have proved to be too complex for human brains to remedy, Bart Ramakers and his team of Companions invented and created a number of Automats for a New World that solve the most important shortcomings of the human condition. So don’t worry: AUTOPIA is on it’s way, everything will be fine in the end!

Outside of Society, 2015 – …

The Damosel of the Lake

50 years ago, beyond the border of the known world, a young man started an alternative creative community hidden behind thick forestry: de Bereklauw (the Acanthus). The one thing the different kinds of people there have in common is that they prefer not to live within the borders of the regular society. For Bart Ramakers as a photographer de Bereklauw is a safeheaven where he can experiment and play without having to make lenghty preparations as he normally does. The fascinating thing is, that although it’s about improvising – often alongside the preferences and passions of the models, and always with props found at the place itself – the result time after time shows an almost mythological quality, reflecting on individual and society. “It is probably because I cannot predict the result, that I am even more positively surprised by it than if I prepared the whole shoot. All images boast the special atmosphere, the enthousiasm and the creativity of de Bereklauw, yet they are exemplary for my work, maybe even more than my regular work.” (Bart Ramakers)

The Anatomy of Beauty, 2017.

Capriccio

Bart Ramakers has been capturing beauty while telling his pictural stories for years and years. After a lifetime of fascination for the fair, he embarks on his most ambitious project ever, in order to understand the true nature of beauty. Is it in the eye of the beholder or is it the objective emanation of Truth and Wisdom? Is it a blessing or a curse? Will it overcome the atrocities of time and death or is it a victim itself? Can beauty save the world? Why is beauty sometimes cruel? Major questions that ask for an answer in this mesmerising whirlwind of enigmas and magical tricks about the cruelty of fate, adoration and extasy, the wheel of fortune, beauty and time, life and death. And art of course, eventually.

A Divine Comedy, 2016.

With A Divine Comedy, photographic storyteller Bart Ramakers bends the New Testament to his will. He plays effortlessly with familiar mythological and religious themes to bring good tidings of great joy for this globalized world. His heaven (and especially hell) are populated by a colorful multicultural pantheon of gods from Mount Olympus, the Egyptian Delta, the Norwegian Asgaard, India and China. They fight, drink, love, play and sing along, while Jesus and Mephisto have an exciting fight for the power. Do absolute good and evil exist? And if so, what will save the world?
Bart Ramakers’ Divine Comedy is a feast for the eyes in eight scenes. As usual he spoils us with a sophisticated lighting, scenic colors, complex compositions and numerous references to the history of art, but above all: never before could you decipher such an exciting story on so many levels of meaning.

In Bluebeard’s Castle, 2015.

Curiosity killed the Cat

All men have secrets, even – and maybe most of all – towards their intimate friends. Because everyone also has a healthy curiosity, it’s better to lock them up tight! In the original story as told by Charles Perrault, the curiosity of Bluebeard’s wife and her discovery of his bloody secret almost costs her head. In the version presented here, lord Bluebeard’s sword is replaced by a camera to collect female beauty in two dimensions only. See what happens when his models grab the red key to Bluebeard’s secret!

Nicht wir haben Geheimnisse, die wirklichen Geheimnisse haben uns! (Carl Gustav Jung)

All About Eve, 2015.

All “About Eve” is a video project about the origins of the concept of romantic love. The work was first shown under the title “Minuet in C Minor” at the Sweet 18 exhibition at Kasteel d’Ursel in Hingene, in a montage that ran simultaneously over three screens.
Our story begins on a magical evening, when a multitude of guests enter the classicistic castle d’Ursel for a ball. What starts as a very formal dance party, neatly directed by the jolly hostess Cupid, soon loses all coherence. As the party degenerates into chaos, the protagonists who play with the feelings of the guests are stepping out of the shadows. “All About Eve” takes us back to the period when (especially aristocratic) people clumsily took their first steps on the path of romantic love, with a lot of sham, formality, role plays and theatricality: the Enlightenment.

Adamant Amazones, 2015.

When a Lovely Flame Dies.

In the project ” Adamant Amazons” (2015) Bart Ramakers creates a mythology for our time, with strong female protagonists that are in control – with one foot on the accelerator. Bold amazones that do only master the cars, but also the men. They go all the way: they abduct, rob, escape and dominate – a sheer delight for all to see. Their cars are not the least : from a Bugatti 35B from 1928 to 2013 Tesla S, every piece is a jewel.

Strangers in the Night, 2014.

In each of us there is another whom we do not know. (Carl Gustav Jung)

Agnus Dei (The Last Supper)

In Strangers in the Night, Bart Ramakers peeps through the doors of former rendez-vous hotel Le Berger, a sulfur-smelling place, an overwhelming art deco universe, fraught with ineffable love encounters, veiled, searing, passionate, unauthorized histories. Imagine that the walls and beds could tell about the stolen moments, the illicit passion and the hidden love. Luckily the good shepherd is never far away, ready to take the lead and show the way …

The Apotheosis of Flora, 2013.

Amor Aeternus.

Once upon a time, at the end of the Ancien Régime and in the early years of Modern Times, a princess named Flore married the promising duke Wolfgang d’Ursel. Together they lived a very eventful life on their estate in Hingene (Bornem) and far beyond. In 1792, during the vicissitudes of the French Revolution, they started to build de Notelaer, a splendid classicist pavilion on the banks of the Schelde. This is where Bart Ramakers brought to life the imaginary world of Flore d’Ursel, with 12 enthusiast actors and 12 crew members. The 10 photographic “tableaux” resulting from this collaboration form a light-heeled ballet with noblemen, gods and mythological figures… and the very enigmatic ferryman.