This publication was published on the occasion of the exhibition De Afstand, in Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (1 September 1990 – 7 October 1990). The photographs in the exhibition and the book De Afstand (Distance) rearrange and sublimate the unavoidable: reality. That is, in fact, what photography is for, even when the visual arts maintain that they need photography.

In these photographs the landscape, or fragments of it, are constantly reappearing. Furthermore, the landscape is a place which invites us to look, without forcing us, or explaining us how to look at it. Other photographs describe the course of things: the past, the present and the immediate future are mixed up and blurred and distant places are juxtaposed with one another. The photograph thus becomes–again– a construct of time, of a place and of people’s activities. The people who populate the portraits are not only people that want to be looked at, they also look at us. These photographs invite the viewer; they need him to create a dialogue. But, there is always a ‘distance’, an alternative, to explore and confirm the independence of the photographic image as a work of art.

For this book, Jean-François Chevrier was invited to make a selection from the works that had been included in the exhibition. He chose and described one photograph by each of the artists and determined the sequence in which they appear. The artists were asked to tell the reader what ‘texts’ they themselves considered important in relation to their own work, and were left free to react in their own way. The aim of this book is to become a contribution to the discussion concerning the relationship between photography and the visual arts.

Participating artists were: Jean-Marc Bustamante, Paul-Armand Gette, Andreas Gursky, Raoul Hausmann, Craigie Horsfield, Jean-Luc Moulène, Thomas Struth, Christopher Williams.