A series of pinhole photos by Helma Michiels is presented in the stylish billiard room of gallery Peninsula. A series for which the artist did not use a camera, but exposed the photographic paper through a tiny little hole - a socalled pinhole -, wich explains the name, in small box. The pinhole serves as a lens and the image is projected directly on the light-sensitive paper.
It is an old fashioned procedure that implies one important condition: the subject of the picture must be able to hold still for a long time, because it takes a while before the paper is sufficiently exposed to the light. Michiels posed for the pictures herself and this obviously was no problem because the original reason for starting with this technique was the fact that the temperature in her Spanish painter's studio had become too high to even move...  The images that were reflected on the paper in this way are of a magnificent timeless and modest beauty that is rarely seen in contemporary photography. The pictures reveal that they don't originate from just a fraction of a second. The light obtains a diffuse quality and it is almost as if you see, or rather féél the passing of time.


As vulnerable as the photographs look, the paintings exposed in the other room have the same intensity but in expressiveness and exuberance. Both have the female nude as their subject matter, but approached from a totally different angle, so it seems; almost like two extremes of a spectrum. In her photographs Michiels seeks for a new composition every time, in her paintings the female figure always stands firmly in the middle of the canvas. Without exception they are painted with fast, expressive brushstrokes. The power of the gesture is inevitably clung to the bodies of the women. Michiels lets every single one of them speak for itself, without too much detail.

Published in Eindhovens Dagblad, February 2005.

From pinhole to brushstroke
by Verily Claassen