Unseen Memories #1


Ilona Langbroek

Ilona Langbroek
Unseen Memories #1, 2022
Archival pigment print on Canson Platine
120 x 90 cm
Edition of 5 & 2 AP

Also available in:
60 x 40 cm
Edition of 7 & 2 AP

45 x 30 cm
Edition of 7 & 2 AP


The Netherlands

Detail Description

Ilona Langbroek’s personal series “Silent Loss” is based on her family’s history in the former Dutch East Indies. The Netherlands has a long history with the Dutch East Indies, which leaves all kinds of traces that are reminiscent of the vast but also complex colonial past between these two countries. In fact, her work is about the lost identity of the large number of people who were forced to leave their country after the Independence and their emotions regarding this loss which are dormant but still very much alive.

Her artwork is not just about aesthetics, but there is a deeper meaning behind the image, the story and the emotion contained within. From that point of view, Langbroek shoots purely intuitively based upon her memories of her grandmother in the past: how she looked, her accent and tone of her voice. In addition, research is an important part of her work to find inspiration. By reading books, interviewing people from previous generations and scrutinizing old photo albums Langbroek gets closer to the life of her grandparents in the Dutch East Indies. Furthermore, her concepts are refined and elaborated in detail, in search of the right items, models, locations and clothing which are partly original antiques but were also specifically handmade based on her own ideas and designs.

In her contemporary work she has therefore chosen to express this atmosphere of nostalgia and sadness, but also of poetry and beauty. Using a strong contrast between light and dark, the artist creates a twilight zone as a metaphor for the disappearing past. To achieve this, she uses chiaroscuro, but also the soft lighting used by painters of the17th century Dutch Golden Age, such as Vermeer, Rembrandt or the Italian painter Caravaggio.


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Unseen Memories #1