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A house is a house is a house?

by Els Wuyts

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In this room hangs and stands on the stones in front of or against the white walls floor or on a grass carpet, a connection of forms and materials. It has here in this chapel something abstract figuratively. What is being proposed is as yet not completely clear. Or is it? The forms of things seem wonderfully simple that we cannot keep our eyes off it. Is it a house? Will it be a garden? A ruin? A landscape? Is a wall just being demolished or rebuilt? Is a monument just revealed or disappears in the waves of one translucent screen?


And actually we can gradually realize that it is precisely what this is: a installation to watch. An installation of simple forms and gaps, simply connected, as three-dimensional still lifes in the bustle of time. Artist Jonas Vansteenkiste mainly uses here and in his oeuvre architectural elements, which he seems to alternate with spaces, voids, gaps.

He creates a situation that can best be defined as a mental space.

At eye level we see architectural ornaments in one along two walls certain balance: Fractum Domum. It looks like he has floral motifs taken away from a past, from an existing wall in a contemporary city and placed it in frames. The work responds to different layers, like scraping a history, but also stressing a history future, as a reference to nature, but also how the culture with it getting started. A new layer for an old layer, a trace such as a tag, a piece of graffiti, an intervention in the present, today and at this place.


The element of nature also appears in the Callimachus sculpture, as one ode to the origin of the Corinthian column. We see hidden behind one wavy tube, a column like a girl who seems hidden but still clear is present. We actually see a story, a physical appearance of one new style from Greek architectural history. We see how the Doric or Ionic order changes to the Corinthian order.

In short it is like this: at the grave of a deceased girl from Corinth put some of her own things in a basket, with a roof tile provided protection. The basket happened to be above the roots of one placed acanthus plant (a species of hogweed) and when it became spring again, Stems and leaves curled up and down the sides of the basket corners of the tile seemed to bend the edges of the branches. it was for the artist, called Callimachus the symbol of new symmetrical proportions, and from that moment he established the rules of that Corinthian order. So you see, it is that layering of images, meaning and interaction that results in a dialogue between the past and the present and activates us to to look and see, and to think about our environment.


And in that nearby area we also see names on houses and for example villas. I live by the sea, and read "Etoile de mer", "La Brise" or "Beaufort", but also "peace nest", "summer breeze" or "Neptune". And also here in or around Borgloon, words appear in iron forged or painted on facades or mailboxes, like naming a wish, a dream or a name. Jonas Vansteenkiste, however, has ambiguous words chosen, as here is one from the series: Uncanny, Dwelling, Unheimlich ... or Detached.

They are not only walls, facades or stones, but also references to houses that can be seen in this presentation: the spiritual spaces have one similarity to Denkraum, a concept that can be found mainly in philosophy and architecture and can be seen as building walls, not only in, but also from the chaos of one's own experience, feelings and thoughts express these experiences in its own way.

A pile of Homes, for example, but also The way you once left me and A house is not a home, referring to concepts of home, domesticity, home. The idyllic image of the perfect house attracts us and all of us longs for the "perfect" House. Each of us has memories of it renovations, changes, improvements. The time and effort that we spend on it. The limitations, often budgetary but also sometimes physically we experience, disagreements within the family, and comment from far beyond. Everyone relates to your place, from distant friends, close relatives or close neighbors. The bricks or roof structures, which Jonas Vansteenkiste places here, go further than that personal experiences. The anecdotal is moved to the background where it is further purified to a "basso continuo" on which built on. He places you, the spectator, the viewer, the passer-by in one active role: he invites you to step into the work and yourself - both mentally as physical to situate therein. I therefore propose that you write up stories in relation to this work, each other and the appeals to the artist, moves between the installations, as references to what is, what was, what can be ... in reality, or in a dream world. A house is a house is a house?

Els Wuyts, works in the team of curators for the Triennale Brugge (contemporary art and architecture in the historic city center of Bruges). In addition, she is working in Ostend on the program of off-space 'Salon blanc' and on the development of BILDNIS (forum for art).

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