Fashion & Beauty / AnOther Thing I Wanted to Tell You

Saskia de Brauw on the Respective Power of Sight and Insight

As her new exhibition with Vincent van de Wijngaard opens in London, we revisit the model and artist’s musing on a poignant book by John M. Hull

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Saskia is wearing a ribbed, cut-out roll-neck jumper, floral cotton skirt with fringing and printed spandex pantatights by BalenciagaPhotography by Casper Sejersen, Styling by Nell Kalonji

“John M. Hull was fully sighted until he was a young man, and in his forties he lost his sight completely. On Sight and Insight: A Journey Into the World of Blindness is dark in every sense. It’s not a beautiful story – he’s struggling even to stay awake – but it’s very beautifully written. There are passages about turning off the senses to focus on what is happening inside – creating a new relationship with the outside world. For example, when you’re blind you can lose your sense of scale, and I was fascinated by how he lay on a stone to measure his body. He had a special roof made for the rain that made a lot of noise; he liked wind because without wind there’s no space. I read this book in art school but it still interests me. My grandmother developed macular degeneration and it usually runs in families. I’m told it appears like a black dot in the middle of your eyes.”

Dutch artist and model Saskia de Brauw has a soft, deliberate way of speaking which seems somewhat at odds with her eminent, expressive features. In fact, there’s a characteristic power and grace to both – introvert and extrovert combined. This spring she presents Ghosts Don’t Walk in Straight Lines, with partner Vincent van de Wijngaard. The work, filmic, photographic and textual, charts a psychogeographical experiment which saw her walk slowly from the northernmost to the southernmost point of Manhattan – “a place I did not really like; it is way too fast for me”. The walk took 20 hours, the project many years. It promises to be an extraordinary exercise in looking inwards.

Hair: Blake Erik at Statement Artists using Hairstory. Make-up: Susie Sobol at Julian Watson Agency. Set design: Ian Salter at Frank Reps. Digital tech: Frederike Heide. Photographic assistant: Christopher Parente and Max Bernetz. Styling assistants: Rebecca Perlmutar, Kat Banas and Athena Zammit. Production: Artistry London. Post-production: Studio Private

Ghosts Don’t Walk in Straight Lines runs from March 9-11, 2018, at the Store X, London.

This story originally featured in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of AnOther Magazine, which is on sale now.