2016 - 2017
All About Scenic Spots
For her photographic adventure I am just a scenic spot, Pauline Niks made two long journeys to China, travelling the entire country to photograph so-called landmarks. Her particular focus was on replicas of iconic tourist attractions from other countries, such as the Eiffel Tower and the White House. The idea behind the undertaking was the manipulative nature of documentary photography: it is often seen as a reliable reproduction of reality when in fact it creates its own reality.
The resulting photographs convey what Guillaume Bijl once called “cultural tourism”: the setting up and dressing of scenes that reveal and celebrate the widespread need for certain images. We all like to surround ourselves with fantasies that perhaps say very little about the world outside our heads and more about the fears and longings that are so entwined with our beings that we seem to be bound to carry them around and to transform them into stupid acts and ugliness.
Pauline Niks reinforces both the confusion and realism of her dream-like images by printing the photographs as postcards and displaying them in a postcard spinner, typical of museum foyers and tourist spots. The large-scale, framed prints of these “documentary” images allow us to experience the neutral yet sensitive lighting and the soft colours that tend towards light blue, lending a personal touch to the pictures.
Hans Theys, Montagne de Miel, 31 July 2017