Thursday, April 11, 2013

Best of Times I & II

with special thanks to Dagbladhandel Sonia Patteet, Antwerpen

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I shall be rereleased, 2013

It's the first time me and my wife were asked to participate in a group exhibition together. Since we both represent different trades, she being a contemporary jeweler and me, a fine artist, we crossed each while in both making our own magazine about our experience and dialogues with people in our fields.

For the exhibition we both showed our own magazines inseparably intertwined, which for us was a statement about our desire to continue using it as our medium. 

Current-Obsession, Magazine for Contemporary Jewellery #1
C.I.N.V.U, magazine about loneliness #1

The exhibition 'Mariposa' runs from 02/04 til 18/05 in gallery Amaranto Joies, Sant Domènec 23 in Barcelona.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Working in the dark, 2013

Working in the dark. A little investigation into what Antwerp has to offer in terms of production. Photographing (work)shops when they open and close.

Veron bakery, Jybe groceries, R. Berdal & Co tools

Friday, January 25, 2013

Viktualienhaus, 2013

I'll be working with a very special greengrocer in München coming March. I met them about a year ago. It might sounds silly, but the way they presented their exotic fruits and vegetables was very remarkable to me. For me, their love for the produce and the way their goods kind of presented themselves to the customer (like the potatoes on the scales and bananas on the shelves) seemed analogous to the way I imagine a perfect artwork being 'transacted'. The new work (the chosen medium: a functional website) will be made largely with their input. I took this picture when I was there:

Things you do and don't understand, 2013

Interview with Chris van der Kaap (Enschede, 1989)

In your work you frequently make an appeal to others to make your work. Can you tell us why not do it yourself?
Uncertainty, .. fear of overestimating authorship .. One of the things I have difficulty coming to terms with is the fact an artist attends to his own acquired style or language. while at the same time I think I admire those (like craftsmen) who do. The artists that I learn from the most are in fact those who know how to give a voice to others and bring people together. I see a kind of strength in transcending ones own style, but this also requires a strong conviction. In fact, I myself work with others to alleviate the preconceptions I have about a particular way of working or a problem, trying to let go of them completely. I do this through the sharing of my ideas and thoughts with others, which sometimes make it seem like I pass my problems onto them. But that's not really my intention. A good example of this 'conflict' is the work 'SOLO: the maker ain't solonely as before' from 2010. A commission gave me the opportunity to create a work for a special event. At first instance, you are of course glad because you've been given such a chance, but then you suddenly realize how many options there are, or worse, how many expectations are invested in you. The work 'SOLO' was actually a way to undermine that expectation. The work is called 'SOLO' but is really about the fact you can't do it alone. You need others to ultimately show what kind of work you do. I then decided to ask an Italian terra-cotta sculptor to make the work that I was expected to produce. I was looking for someone who wouldn't normally possesses the same freedom that was handed to me when I received the commission. Because I couldn't deal with it. I wrote a very general description of how large the work should be and what material I had in mind but refused to give any instructions about a possible theme or goal. The confidence that I had laid in him would appear from the fact that regardless of the outcome the work, he was to deliver it only at the eve of the exhibition. Because I didn't want to be the one still deciding what the work should mean or be like. The work that resulted from this 'partnership' marks the beginning of my way of working. The result was not only much more than I expected, it was the first time I could see my work as if I was one of the spectators. It came on to me as an act of compassion or even devotion, addressed to a complete stranger.
Does this have to do with a sense of loneliness, a theme that also came forth in your magazine 'C.I.N.V.U'?
The word already surfaced in the title of that work and I've been going about it my own way. But loneliness only really became a standalone theme when I began to feel a kind of responsibility for it. It began with the idea for the magazine. It took off with an open call to anyone who felt addressed by the theme to contribute to this work. All of a sudden, along with many others, I felt the need to give shape to it. The magazine covers many different aspect of my work than those I just described. It required a different line of questioning, about how you design something and for whom it is intended. One of the beautiful things I found out was how this medium (unlike many of my other work) can easily be passed from hand to hand. That somehow made it into a success.
Of what collaboration do you speak the most?
I like to talk about my work and it shows that I am still very selfish. One of those selfish tendencies led me to make the work 'Univocally'. An attempt as an artist to merge into an existing production. I worked with 6 Russian porcelain makers in Krasnodar. A kind of family business that made little hand painted souvenirs for both tourists as well the Russians themselves. My intention as an artist was to become fully involved with an existing production. The title 'Univocally' is a hopeful thought about how different people can work together to create a single product. The title echoed in the shape of the work that we decided to make, namely a bell. Everyone took their own task to make a total of seven bells. One for each maker. I also like to speak about failure. Since this project (because of a great deal or problems) never really reached to the point of completion. I don't know how to deal with that yet.
In what historical context do you place your work? We know of the work of Jeff Koons who lets his work be produced by others. While others may recognize the postmodern melancholic love for crafts, like for example Grayson Perry. Can you say something about this?
I love Perry. But I must say that my relationship with other artists is somewhat loaded. During the academy I completely identified myself with my artistic examples, while at other times I wanted to have nothing to do with them and I educated myself with ignorance which you sometimes need if you want to produce anything at all. I must admit? that the circle of people who inspire me has become quite narrow. Because I notice that when I meet someone special I want to be completely open. I do not want to be busy with James Lee Byars or Bonnie 'Prince' Billy.
Why is the medium in which you work so elusive, sometimes even intangible?
I once made a work for which I needed more than 300 pounds of porcelain. That was very heavy and expensive and I also had no car or license to transport it. Because I have a weak back it was a big burden, but I had it gladly. When I began to work with others, I noticed that I was more concerned with investing in cooperation than in raw material and I felt much better. Not just because we could share the burden but I contributed in a positive way to local production. It's not a shame to spend a lot of money on art and certainly not your own, but I am someone who is very conscious of what he adds in terms of production. It has something to do with responsibility. I prefer to work with the responsibility for others than for 300 pounds of clay.
What is your greatest hope for the future?
A question I could only ask myself. I am married, I have a cat but I'm not (yet) happy. In 2008 a friend of mine, whom I also work for as an artist assistant, composed a beautiful list of things he still wanted to do. There was no time-limit attached. It was a long list of both big things like "falling in love" but also stuff like "learn to crochet and/or knitting". Working as an artist assistant (and good friend) is great to do. You help someone else to realize his work. I hope I am able to stay.
What revolution would you still like to experience?
Since my earliest work, when I spend hours behind the blue screen of WordPerfect 5.1, I'm working on a sort of revolution. I notice that in every work in which I fully surrender a part of that revolution comes about. I do not know if that happens only in myself or of it is going on around me. 'Name 5 things you care about the most?', 'What do want to protect? "," What do you want to survive?". These are three questions composed by Rory Pilgrim (Bristol, 1988) whose work I find very special. If you care to answer these questions, the revolution all of a sudden seems to be a lot closer.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's not unusual, 2012

'It's not unusual, 2012' is a performance.

A sentimental and slightly out of place text spoken by the auctioneer during a small art-auction in Zürich. About belonging, about the work we make and spend and how unbelievable it is that one who buys your work inherently wants to take care of it.

Saturday 19:00 15/12/2012
3rd Anonymous Art Auction organized by Gibsmir family. 
You are invited!

Blowup, Albulastrasse 38, Zürich