Antwerp Art Weekend - part 1
On Thursday, January 29th, the Antwerp Art team kicked off the Antwerp Art weekend, a four day non-stop tour de force of Antwerp's vibrant contemporary art scene. I visited several galleries, spaces and museums during the opening nocturne event and I'm happy to report it was an absolute triumph! In two parts I'll be taking you on my tour of the Thursday nocturne.
I kicked off my tour at the Tique art space, a new gallery in the Korte Vlierstraat, right next to the Kloosterstraat. Tique was officially not listed on the nocturne's program but they were opening that night, so I was glad to drop by. Tique's first exposition brings together the work of 8 artists who focus on the importance of shape and form. Artists include Lotte Reiman, Ruth Van Beek, Fleur Van Dodewaard, Hanne Lillee, Suzanne Posthumus, Anna de Jong, Isabelle Wenzel en Anne Huijnen. Promises to be a space to watch in the future.
Axel Vervoordt Gallery
After Tique I was off to the Axel Vervoordt gallery, hidden in one of Antwerp's best-kept secrets, the Vlaeykensgang. Axel Vervoordt is currently displaying the work of Italian artist Marco Tirelli. Tirelli is known for his very architectural oeuvre and works mostly on wooden panels. The artist's work relies heavily on the appearing and disappearing of light and shadow. My favorite work was the tuning fork in the middle of what appeared to be an endless bunch of circles. To me, it seemed like Tirelli was trying to visualize sound. As usual, because I've been to Axel Vervoordt in the past, the gallery doesn't disappoint. Definitely worth a visit!
Valerie Traan Gallery
Now for my favorite of the night! It was the work of artist Eline Willemarck, showcasing at the Valerie Traan Gallery. Her work actually moved me so much, I'm not afraid to say I cried after leaving the gallery. Willemarck's current project is titled “As we ever see but do not observe” and seems to argue back and forth about death and mortality. The work is all about her grandparents and her way of immortalizing them in art.
I spoke to the artist herself and here's what she had to say:“I feel the need to translate my experiences and thoughts into images. In my work, I want to show the things that touch me. Life and death, my family, past, present and future, vulnerability, protection and transience are themes that are important to me. My grandparents have always been a great source of inspiration to me. The way they live, how they move, and how they slowly grow old form the starting point for my project. Seeing their bodies decline makes me think about life and death. The idea that they will soon pass away and that their bodies will disappear, makes me want to ʻimmortalize them’, and keep them forever by my side.”
And so Eline did... She made 3D scans of her maternal grandmother and grandfather, and “printed” them out in a plastic-like material that can take up to 400 degrees celsius of heat, so that they are preserved forever. The prints can then blow up or deflate and you can clearly see her grandparents features, even when deflated. Besides that, she made patterns out of these 3D scans and put them all together on one big screen, one for each grandparent. In these scans, you can see the complexity of the human form.
Talking to her I could really sense the love she has for her grandparents and I could understand her reasoning for wanting to immortalize them. I lost my grandmother exactly two years ago and my grandfather last month, so I was weeping when I left the gallery. For me, Eline's work is possibly the most moving piece of work I have ever seen. I often go to galleries and museums but they can sometimes feel cold and pretentious. Some might call it a lack of sophistication and fine taste, but I just call it common sense.Eline Willemarck however was on a complete level of her own, and made a MOVING piece. That is what I want art to do for me. It has to speak to me, it has to touch me. While I enjoyed all of the other spaces and works, Eline was head and shoulders above all the rest. Major props to her for her work and for coming out and taking the time to talk to each visitor.Thank you Antwerp Art collective for this touching moment!
Antwerp Art Weekend (part II)
In part II of this article, coming very soon, I'll be taking you to more galleries and museums in Antwerp's South district. Stay tuned!
Text by Laurent James from antwerptrill.com
All pictures by the respective galleries and Laurent James from antwerptrill.com.