Nude photo exhibition at Laarne Castle

An exhibition of work by the Ghent photographer Eva Rossie that opened at Laarne Castle in East Flanders on Saturday is striking to say the least. The series of nude photographs was inspired by the fraught history of the castle that is around 10km east of Ghent. The Les (Dés)Habilleuses exhibition draws its inspiration from the oppression suffered by the noblewoman that lived in the castle at a time when men were all powerful. Other dark chapters such as witch hunts also served to inspire Eva Rossie.

One of the photographs in the exhibition, featuring a half-naked woman in the castle’s chapel became a focal point for discussion even before the exhibition opened.

Since Saturday 18 February the picturesque Laarne Castle just outside is the setting for an impressive exhibition of work by the photographer Eva Rossie.

All of the photographs in the exhibition have the castle as their backdrop.

Eva Rossie is very pleased to see her work on display at the castle.

"It's great to see them (the photos) hanging there now. I'm very grateful to be able to do this”

Fraught history

"On the one hand, there were many witches that were interrogated, tortured and sentenced here and on the other there were the noblewomen that lived here under a patriarchal regime and were subject to strict rules." The photographer adds.

"I’ve taken many photographs that were inspired by this, but at the same time also have a contemporary link."

Liberated Women (and Men)

Eva Rossie believes that just like the women back then, the women of today are still not completely free. "There are still too many women who feel that they are bound by rules imposed on them by, for example, the media and fashion. Those rules are not written down, but they can be felt”.

The photographer has tried to give her models a sense of freedom. "I've tried to take photographs show that through my lens and in my camera, women can liberate themselves," Eva Rossie explains. Nevertheless, the photographs don’t only feature women. "I don't just want to focus only on what women experience and how they free themselves from prejudice, but also on men."

Nude photo in chapel causes controversy

One of the photos was taken in the chapel of the castle. "You see how a dresser dresses a noblewoman. I show the contrast between being dressed and exposing yourself," Eva Rossie says. The photograph is used on the cover of the book containing the series of photographs. It has caused something of a stir.

"A former resident of the castle thinks nudity in a chapel shouldn’t be allowed. But the chapel is not consecrated. Moreover, I stylise everything. I have a background in fashion photography, and I incorporate that into the photograhs. It's all about aesthetics for me."

For more information about the exhibition (in Dutch) click here.

Entrance costs 8 euro and the exhibition is open to the public every day except Monday from 11am to 6pm. The exhibition runs until 26 March.


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