28/03 - 30/05/18

En français | NL versie


© Lucas LEFFLER, series Zilverbeek, 2017

Zilverbeek (“silver stream”) is the name given to a river in the Antwerp region that flows past the Agfa-Gevaert factory. In the past, the factory produced silver-nitrate photographic products, and its waste water was released into the river without first removing the silver residues.

This photographic project began after I read an article in the Nieuwsblad newspaper, which told the story of a former employee at the factory who had decided to collect the mud from the river and to filter it to extract the precious metal.

So, I set off to explore the area around the factory, looking for this mysterious river, with the idea of using it to tell a personal, fictional story. When I managed to find it, I decided to photograph and film it, and also to take some of its mud for myself.

From that point, the project became a sort of conceptual repeat of the former employee’s story, treated as a performance or an intervention. I began to distort my negatives and then to mix the Zilverbeek mud with light-sensitive photographic emulsion to make new images.

I see this project as a nostalgic exploration of a bygone industry, a sort of mythological fascination with the rise and fall of a technology that has now become obsolete.

This work is stimulated by a desire to make the photographic material itself tangible using the silver as a medium. It takes shape through a fantasy of a river of silver that seems to have come from a children’s fairy tale.

Lucas Leffler
Translation: Chris Bourne



© Lucas LEFFLER, series Zilverbeek, 2017