Matthias Van Dromme

Born in Mechelen, Belgium in 1988, Matthias Van Dromme studied Visual Arts/Photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Gent. After graduating, he started working in the film industries as a lighting technician and is also closely involved with two artist collective’s (Kuiperskaai, NeedCompany) in Brussels. “Kupa-Piti: White Man in a Hole” is his first finished project.

Kupa-Piti: White Man in a Hole

The central theme in the portfolio “KUPA-PITI: white man in a hole”, is the absurdity of life.

This series has been made in a small town named Cooper Pedy, in the middle of the Australian desert. Also referred to as the opal capital of the world. Many of its first inhabitants were migrants from southern and eastern Europe after the Second World War in search for the precious Opal-stone. Due to the sandstorms and the harsh summer desert temperatures they built their homes into the mines. The Aboriginals describe this phenomenon with the term Kupa-piti which translates to ‘white man in a hole’.

Today, in a world where science and technology reached a never seen peak, these fortune seekers still live like cavemen, desperately seeking fortune. You have the impression that these people are trying to escape something; That the mine is a retreat that is detached from reality. To live in total isolation to find a rock – it’s the raw reality that dreams can be reduced to it. It is the confrontation with extreme banality. Can you stop, can you still get back? Or, no questions will be asked here.

Is this the eternal return of Nietzsche, or the existentialist myth of Sisyphus, which represents the absurdity of life? Is the goal of finding these precious stones inherently meaningless? Is the challenge faced by these people to refrain from despair?

Or should we consider Albert Camus conclusion in his essay “The Myth of Sisyphus” that, “one must imagine Sisyphus happy.”