After a career of more than 30 years in the research of textures (25 years as textile stylist and 5 years as interior design architect), Didier Engels has shifted towards photography.
As self-taught Belgian photographer, he started his photographic work DRY DOCK in January 2015.
In his DRY DOCK approach, he pulls what is practical towards what is abstract, just setting his eye on something.. In a boat’s life, dry dock is a crucial step consisting of a series of revision operations. The purpose? Allowing the boat to restore its nautical qualities. This operation aims at removing the slow and ever-present corrosion. Sailors consider the dry dock a necessary trouble. Didier Engels sees it from another angle.
His work intends to bring the viewer’s eye below the waterline, without concealing any aspect of erosion. Sedimentary textures, faded colours, oxidized marks; it is in this territory that Didier Engels evolves.
His « dry docks » sculpted by the sea and the salt now give way to another major universe, the one of trains and the railway fantasy.
The steel monsters Didier Engels gazes at are indeed still but in no way innocent. Their tattooed sides unfold like parchments reflecting the stormy fusion with graffiti. Here again, it is the textures, the lines, the shapes, the chromatic intensities and the lights which are put forward.
There is more. « Wagon Writers » subtly evokes another reality, that of the American hobos. Like Ray, the hero of « The Dharma Bums » by Jack Kerouac whose profession of faith has been the mantra of a generation: expressing that all he wants, is to do as he pleases. He would rather live the rough life in freight trains from one end of the country to another, eat canned food cooked on fire, rather than being rich, have a house and work.
Didier Engels’ eye focused on textures and colors for more than 30 years. « Dry Docks » and « Wagon Writers » are direct results of it.