About my work
Lisa Matthys’ strong social commitment translates into video work, photography and documentaries in which children often play a starring role. In this way she denounces different political and/or social contexts. Bottom-up practices, like workshops and encounters with youngsters and children, are part of her practice.
Research into children playing produces very authentic images from all over the world: the streets of Palestine, the vast nature of Iceland or the districts of Brussels. Matthys succeeds in making her camera itself part of the game. The viewer experiences the pleasure of the game as if he or she were that child. At the same time, she also makes you aware of the very different circumstances in which these children always make the best of the situation they find themselves in and how unequal the game becomes as a result.
In a photo series such as Class War, in which schoolchildren ‘play war’, the images bear witness to a keen eye for beauty and composition. At first, you look at beautiful photographs of children who interpret war in a naive, almost romanticized way. It is of course, in stark contrast to the real concept of war and provokes thought about child soldiers in a war situation.
In The Survivor she refines this method even more. In this video installation, based on a testimony of Jackleen, appears a girl held captive by IS. In a landscape (Kurdistan, northern Iraq) which is a picture of idyllic innocence, she talks in a surprisingly calm way about the atrocities she suffered during her imprisonment. The wild flowers that surround the girl show us, just like the mere fact of being a child, the (conceivable) lightness of existence. Her testimony was linked to a ‘sandplay’ session: a therapeutic intervention practice with shapes in a sandbox.
Stef Van Bellingen, september 2020