Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.
Well, not really a smile here. Look at that grip!

Hi, I’m Thomas and I’m an accidental Illuminati researcher.

May 16, 2018 - Thomas Kuijpers

Sometimes I’m collecting these things, but I’m not too sure why. As seen on the list in the first post, there’s actually plenty of those to mention. Sometimes I just think it’s funny, but most of the time there’s a different kind of urge. I feel there’s a story to tell about the collected narrative, but I’m clueless on how to do it. What then usually happens is I take a box, and I put in all the collected material, put it on my pile of boxes that all have some form of collection in them (sorry, have no picture at hand of this, I’m currently on residency in Stockholm). I look at my boxes as cheeses. Some are nice to eat young, but some of them really need to mature before they get good (This metaphor can only come from a Dutch guy). This was also the case with this box of handshakes of world leaders I’ve been collecting for years. I found a great interest in the theatrical moment when world-leaders meet in front of flashing camera’s shaking hands, smiling, and leaving again for the real confrontation, conversation. I collected hundreds of them, mostly from the newspapers, but also stills from video-broadcasts, from online media. All got printed and indexed with exactly the names and dates, then stored in the box. This collection of friendliness showed me a weird version of what global politics are like, or could be interpreted like. As the box sat on the shelve for more than two years, maturing, and sometimes getting added with some new ingredients, I stumbled across this book called Codex Magica: secret signs, mysterious symbols and hidden codes of the Illuminati. Don’t ask me how I found it, I don’t remember, it wasn’t a weird story, although maybe it should have been.



Anyway, while reading this book, I saw these strange photographs and analysis on how certain grips could have been interpreted as evidence the people depicted in the photographs are members of the Illuminati. This is when I knew what to do with my photographs, and the project Gesture came to exist. I need to have them analyzed, not in particular on Illuminati-skills, but on general body language! Can we read something that is hidden in this meeting, something that will reveal a different message, something that punctures through the theatrical display we’re seeing?



Spreads of Codex Magica
Spreads of Codex Magica



To make this analysis as unprejudiced as possible, I decided to remove all noise around the gesture, no colors, no faces, no skin color, no backgrounds, no nothing. It needs to be just a line drawing, and the analysts won’t get to see the names either. This is when I started selecting a string of images from the box, ordering them, building a political narrative with the order, and having the drawings analyzed by various body-language experts over the world.



[[Commercial break]] The full work, which in the end consists of 100 drawings that form an enclosed circle, has just been published by Metronom Books, and will be released during Photo London this friday!





Tomorrow some background info on the Bad-Trip series, and how collecting was essential within this project as well. Cheers!