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Silent Melancholy

With "Silent Loss", Dutch photographer llona Langbroek narrates her family history in the former Dutch East Indies with infinite melancholy. A series presented by the Bildhalle gallery, to be seen at Paris Photo.

Ilonna Langbroek, granddaughter of a Sino-Indonesian woman and a Dutch soldier, is heir to an important page in Dutch colonial past : the long period of the Dutch East Indies. Her photographs tell the story of this period at the end of the Second World War, which saw the independence of Indonesia and the repatriation of part of the population to the Netherlands.

Mists of time #2, 2023 © Ilona Langbroek

Mists of Time #3, 2023 © Ilona Langbroek

"Silent Loss" speaks to us of a deep melancholy, that of the lost identity of these people forced to leave their homeland. This woman, in her traditional dress, from behind, looking far away. There's something of Vermeer in Ilona Langbroek's pictures. Between light and shadow, the chiaroscuro is marvellous, both sweet and nostalgic.

Mists of time #1, 2023 © Ilona Langbroek

Lilacs in vase, 2023 © Ilona Langbroek

"I create my images based upon stories and memories, in which I try to visualize the bond between man, spirit and nature. I love to use the contrast between light and dark and the twilight zone between them." - Ilona Langbroek.

Prospect 2023 © Ilona Langbroek

Somewhere between a portrait and a still life, each painting evokes pre-war literature, the flora and fauna of Dutch botanists' books and the architecture in which her ancestors lived. In this way, Ilonna Langbroek recreates the intimate story of her ancestors, in the silence of memories and forgotten souls.

Lilacs from heaven, 2023 © Ilona Langbroek

The "Silent Loss" series can be seen at Paris Photo, presented by
galerie Bildhalle. Paris Photo, Grand Palais Ephémère, Paris, November 9 to 12, 2023.

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