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Art Photobook Reviews

It’s That You’re Here by Caroline Kist

We all have our private universes, our spaces away from the noises and demands of the outside world. Our retreats and safe places,

Outwardly we smile and compromise, do what is required of us to fit in and keep others happy, and most of the time it comes naturally and requires little or no effort whatsoever

But sometimes.

Sometimes, we smile through gritted teeth, choke out a laugh when behind our eyes we are someplace else.

Sometimes our legs kick against the current of conformity, arms flailing wildly, striving to strike out in a direction that offers a personal clarity and solace.

Only sometimes.

These are our choices and our charades, these are the things that allow us to fit in and adapt, to exist and succeed within worlds where we would otherwise ultimately be suffocated and swallowed, enveloped by well meaning but ill informed intentions.

This is the price of admission to the lives we choose and aspire to.

It seems casual deception and artifice are as integral to our survival as fight or flight.

We do what we do to fit in.

But what if that filter was removed, if the smallest of tweaks to our genetic makeup rendered all those aspects of stratagem and subterfuge redundant, to be replaced by emotional purity.

My brother is a beacon.

Reinoud has Down's syndrome. When he was five years old, I arrived in his life: a world shaped differently, in which the wisdom of the body has not been lost and the spirit is not constricted by reason.”

In Caroline Kist’s intimate and muted study of her brother, we are introduced to such a person and allowed the merest glimpse of the spaces they share.

Physical portraits and details from the world surrounding Reinoud speak of a calm,

contemplative and rested personality.

There are no outbursts of rage, no tantrums hinted at although surely they exist… yin and yang.

The reality of no filter.

Maybe this is not the time or the place. “It’s That You’re Here” is the gentle dialogue that moves between siblings and a signal that all is well with the world.

Light and shadow, Reinoud’s drawings.

Printed glassine overlays convey a transparency of mood and a hint of complexity.

Elements and images that bind and communicate down the line.

The subject, the artist, the audience.

“In his world everything is rooted, unconditioned and unconditional. He holds no judgements, no desires for more, he is not burdened by the compulsion of efficiency. In his world, sadness and joy can spill through into a single moment. And his existence is unquestioned, it just is.”

Of course Kist is his sister, his flesh and blood but if she understands Reinoud it is because he allows it. Surely it is his willingness to communicate in his own way, to offer a transparency which is as variable and focused as any lens.

By turns, crystal and sharp as a pin or as opaque and clouded as a cataract.

Inevitably behind those eyes are worlds and universes as private and infinite as any of ours.

It's That You're Here by Caroline Kist is published in a first edition of 200 numbered copies


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