Zwarte Zwanen, Black Swans, is the photographic interpretation of White Swans. It tells about the double layered nature of the landscape of Drenthe. Where once was a rich Saxo-Germanic culture now the only thing that remains is emptiness. Except for the ones that look for it. For the ones that seek that culture can still find remains of former holy places. Trees, ponds, en marshes on first sight only actors in a desolate landscape but when looked closer, when one can reconnect with the landscape you can find where the gods and elves once lived. Where the humans came to worship and where the deities whisper from the trees or gurgle from the marshes. Be careful that they don’t lure you into the darkness and get lost, for the ancient world is a place of deceit, passion and illusion.
The titles White Swanns and Black Swanns is based on the children’s rhyme:
White Swanns, Black Swanns
Who will go with me to England
The gate is closed and the key is broken
won’t we find a blacksmith that might repair the key.
In Anglo-Germanic culture the kingdom of the dead was in the west. Seen from the Netherlands, England is in the west, therefor it is a metaphor for the kingdom of the dead. The living cannot enter the kingdom of the dead which explains why the gates are closed, only a blacksmith can make or repair the key for the gates. In those times the blacksmith was often also a shaman, for he works with the enigmatic iron. And the shaman is the link between the land of the living and that of the dead.