“The more similar the cause, the more similar the effect. Nevertheless […] There never has been, it seems, exactly the same cause and exactly the same effect.” (H.G. Wells)
With the photographs of the Sophrosyne series, Pieter Dedoncker explores the relationship between intentional human activity and spontaneous natural processes. Human activity, like human reasoning, is primarily based on categorizing and dividing. In order to understand and govern the world, artificially separated units are created constantly. In the physical world, walls and fences represent powerful metaphors of the dichotomisation of life. Used to mark territories, walls symbolise the human need for order, division and posession. Either you are on one side, or the other.
Natural processes, like erosion and corrosion, are driven differently. As they are subject to a complex array of influences, it is nearly impossible for our human mind to predict the outcome. Natural processes seem to aspire to a perfect spread rather than a perfect division, creating blends, grades and shades. Powered by what is often referred to as entropy, chemical reactions and physical interactions create painting-like patterns on what were once plain, solely functional walls. These unintentional works of art are a pure representation of the beauty of blending, in continuous evolution, appearing and disappearing. They bring life to a dead surface.
At first glance Sophrosyne seem like works of abstract art, but in fact they are photos of real, unaltered scenes. They explore how balance between human activity and natural processes is sought and shaped. Each picture being a still of a work in constant change, with a future that we cannot predict. The work invites the viewer to consider the concept of balance and to contemplate our need for control and the extent to which we grant ourselves the liberty to execute it.