About my work

Lisa Matthys (°1982, BE) is a Brussels based artist and documentary maker.


She works primarily with video and photography, sometimes with elements of installation.

Her work looks at social relations under different (political) contexts and is grounded in collaboration gestures. In her function as artistic-educational collaborator at Fondation A Stichting in Brussels, she often works with neighborhood children. As most of them have a migration background she tries to implement notions of their cultural legacy into the workshops. Not as a dominating element but as something playful, a recognizable tool that communicates with them. 


She puts a strong emphasis on reality, with a poetic vision.

After working for years with children, she noticed that children are able to create without inhibition, like an intuitive gesture, they are closer to something natural, rooted. Observing this, she became interested in their process of playing and making things, very often unaware reflections and reenactments of what they live and see in society. Exactly what artists do too.


In her video work PLAY! she researched how and what children play. The work is a poetic ode to the free play, the games children invent when they are on their own, when they feel free and create their own world. A world that often reflects their daily reality. It was filmed in three different zones: conflict, rural and urban (Palestine, Iceland and Brussels). 

PLAY! is a very unusual video work. It is not a documentary, it is a play itself. She stepped with her camera into the imagination of the kids, and became a part of their performances. The images are not objective, observational registrations of the games they’re playing but a relational, subjective registration of the free play. This subjective registration opens an artistic visual language which captivate the theatrical, emotional and raw games of children. The visual language refers to Aldo Van Eyck’s Amsterdam Playground, Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens, Helen Levitt’s photography and very subtle to the book Lord of the Flies. 


Currently she’s working on the documentary 'Little Survivors' about Yezidi children who survived IS captivity.