Emile Gostelie (NL, b. 1957) investigates the limits and potential of perceived reality. He bases his work on scientific insights which he combines with an artistic approach. By changing their context, and through deconstruction and assembly, he separates images from their original meaning, allowing for the investigation of alternative meanings and understandings of the role of photography. His working process is characterised by extensive research, experimentation and the manipulation of images and objects by hand. Having first studied physics and engineering at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, Gostelie later graduated from Amsterdam’s Photo Academy.
Laws of the haystack is an investigation into the shapes and meanings hidden in one photo. During a holiday in 2019, Gostelie took a snapshot of an ordinary haystack, which reminded him somehow of other shapes he couldn’t remember seeing before. Long after the haystack was gone, the need to discover what the image contained – but did not reveal – lingered on.
At the end of the 19th century, the Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann claimed that the material world may look static to us, but it consists, in reality, of continuously changing configurations of the smallest particles that form the building blocks of our world. Invisible to us, we are not aware of these parallel realities.
Inspired by Boltzmann, Gostelie investigates what his image of the haystack hides. He deconstructs and reassembles the original photograph by hand into many different shapes in a random manner, generating alternative shapes and readings of the original. He applies a pseudo-scientific approach, combined with the artistic freedom that allows him obsessive curiosity, chance and trial-and-error to come into play.