“We stand in the barrel of a rifle.
Ready to scatter two lonesome hearts in one shot. Pull the trigger my dear,
that we may never gather the pieces again.”
In The Dream Vehicle, artist duo Witkowska Verbunt embark on a journey through the Benelux with a newly purchased car. Their plan to launch a photographic quest into a deeper understanding of the adult male-female relationship, makes them, once en route, the very object of their investigation. While facing each other’s longings and fears, they become a reflection for one another. A mirror of each other’s worlds.
The road trip becomes an ultimate form. As they describe it: “The road trip is a metaphor for the journey through life. And our emotionally charged partnership works as a metaphor for marriage”.
The ideal setting for their photographic storytelling is found in the landscapes of nearby Belgium and Luxembourg. There, on and off the road, they literally ‘insert’ themselves in each other’s picture. And translate their feelings through choice of scenery, light, position of their bodies. In either found or constructed decors, they show the glimpse of their emotions. Inviting the viewer behind the scenes of their worlds. A demonstration of a journey through light and shadows, pushing the limits of their artistic freedom.
The car, a classic Volvo, specially bought for the journey, becomes an important device in this project. And is not only pointed to carry them in a physical sense. It also becomes a vehicle that carries all the emotional content they face and share while traveling. A romantic symbol of short term happiness. A fleeting of a moment. Of life that goes by.
Photographic ideas arise from their own themes. About ones place in the world, about time and the human drive. In the landscapes and accommodations they visit, Anna chooses for grand sets. Staged arrangements between man and woman. And for classic portraits of Rob, sculptural and intimate. Rob photographs Anna and the relational image he has of her with a digital pinhole camera. With long exposure times, painting the scene with a moving light source.
In addition, he documents the process and the journey with a second camera.
In The Dream Vehicle, Anna and Rob live and renew their ideas about love, individuality and happiness. Forming an expanding photographic and contemplative body in which humanity is presented in a relational, but also in an existential sense. A dialogue that continues to this day. In which ultimately not the answers but the questions are the key.
For both, the question repeatedly arises whether the loving heart solely beats to suffer. In the quest that man undertakes to acquire happiness, for the ideal form of being, the counter question also returns: whether the ideal form actually exists. “One can survive in the arms of love, but never without injury. And one can map out a path that ultimately turns out to be based on one’s own drive.”