2008-22 I never promised a rosegarden
"Eddy De Buf's "I never promised you a rose garden"
...is a project of
uncannily depth that I got confronted with in a medium that is known to be
lacking any depth: Facebook. And, when you let the depth of "I never
promised you a rose garden" sink in, even for just a second, it makes
total sense that it worked... perfectly! as random, unexpected, even
stopping-you-in-your-tracks during your endless scroll moments in a channel
set-up to steal your time, steal your attention, steal your appreciation away
Eddy succeeds in bringing us, the unsuspecting viewer, a seeming simplicity in format: a black and white landscape (urban or other) and an image caption, nothing more, or? Everything in the series whispers: 'or?', 'but!', 'could there be... more?'.
As a title, "I never promised you a rose garden" was, is and always will remain pure gold, rhetorically speaking, from Joanne Greenberg's semi-biographical novel (1964), dealing with a young girl's schizophrenia, to American singer-song writer Joe South's song (1967) covered by Lynn Anderson (1970) at at time that America was entering the exit years of its Vietnam campaign.
Bringing a photo series
under a title with that much history, that many associations, while delving
into the intimate intricacies of an unspecified, undivulged relationship
appears 'telling'... but it is nothing remotely telling i.e. it
doesn't explain a thing. It creates recognition without even disclosing why
the viewer actually connects with mere fragments of diaries, conversations,
whispers and even shouting, let alone the landscapes never seen before.
Once you discover that the landscapes aren't even real but heavily manipulated and the accompanying captions are themselves altered texts 'trouvés' on the internet. The layers of truth and untruth, make your head spin in a manner not only befitting the Belgian surrealist tradition of before, but also the times we are living today of fake news, disinformation, distrust...
Eddy is not stealing anyone's time, attention or appreciation, he's giving, forcing the viewer to stop, ponder, let everything sink in, with a mastery that embraces not only the past - history, associations, general knowledge, savoir-faire -, but also the ever present now of today's fleeting, hasty, mediatized mannerisms and, most importantly in my view, a seamless merger of the two, making it tomorrow's classic.
A charming, non-linear, fragmented dialogue of a non-existing couple that transcends the then-and-there as well as the here-and-now. Seemingly straight forward, but majestically not.
Not only would I buy the book in a blink of and eye, I would treasure it and recommend everyone to get a copy, to revisit over and over again."
- Thierry Mortier (BE/SE)