With his new book and exhibition ‘Opening Doors’, art photographer Eddy Van Gestel tries to find an answer to the question ‘Can art save the world?’ Are those labelled ‘artists’ merely purveyors of above-average creativity and beauty, or can they play a crucial role in major, necessary social revolutions? If they can, then maybe humanity needs, more than ever, imagination and creativity. In other words: art.

We humans, no matter how superior we may feel, cannot separate ourselves from this earth; on the contrary, as he tried to show with the book Signs of Life, everything is connected to everything else. In this respect, artists have an important social function. By always focusing on beauty, by gently stimulating the audience and their senses to look at things differently, by drawing them into an imaginary world, by constantly pushing the boundaries of the possibilities of perception, willingly or unwillingly, they keep minds fresh and sharp. Shaking, shouting, ranting, raving to awaken those in danger of dozing off. They open doors to a universe that forces us to reflect, that continues to nurture our unique gift of distinguishing beauty from the ordinary. Art, in whatever form it takes, is the best way to hold up a mirror to people and make them feel that we can change our world. Can art save the world? We don’t know for sure. But what we do know is that without art, we are hopelessly lost.