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"Fractum Domum, Palimpsest intervention I"

2018, Dendermonde, Belgium


"Fractum Domum, Palimpsest intervention" 2019, "Landscapes 2.0, Kortrijk, Belgium

After a residency at the Emile van Doren museum in Genk Vansteenkiste made "Orarum Fracta, Fractus Domum” In this work Vansteenkiste reflects on a fascinating contrast that characterized Belgian Painters Emile Van Doren and Armand Maclot. Both landscape painters made their final home around the turn of the century. They glorified the landscape in countless canvases and fought for nature conservation, but contradict their love for this landscape by building a large villa in their beloved landscape. This duality trigged Vansteenkiste to work further on the subject. The versions of the work are interacting in all the cities on the map above.


"Fractum Domum" uses architectural ornaments as a motive.

The use of the typical 19th-century ornament is not a random one, it makes a reference to the use of floral motives and makes the bridge to the content.The intervention will create the illusion that nature will claim culture back.

By putting this work in the public domain it activates a more layered dialoge, a Palimpsest one. 


The reference to the concept of Palimpsest is a powerful metaphor for the way memory works in different layers. And is a holistic view on history of a place, space of text.

Palimpsest makes reference to the old tradition of scraping away texts on manuscripts in order to re-use them and add a new layer of text on the older layer, in this way the history of the base text bleeds trough in the new text and may affect his meaning.


The work “fractum Domum” in the public domain reacts to the past of the wall, the past of the city and the present of the graffiti, by its temporary language of street art it also alludes to the future of the vanishing of the piece. And makes this intervention a palimpsest urban intervention.


The locations where not random. They where pickt for there symbolic meaning or for personal or general references of the past, for example:


"Fractum Domum, Palimpsest intervention II"at rue de quatre-fils Paris, was positioned at the back of the French national archives, referring to the memory of a nation but also to its colonial past.


"Fractum Domum, Palimpsest intervention III”,rue du cloitre Saint Merri in Paris is near the centre Pompidou where a lot of homes where demolished to build the cultural temple. There is also a small formal reference to the work “conical insect” (1975)of Gordon Matta Clark an intervention in this part of the city, by using the circle as a reference form.


"Fractum Domum, Palimpsest intervention IIII", Allée des justes de France, Paris, the intervention is positioned on t the wall of the cite international des arts in Paris where The artist lived en worked for several months and makes a dialoge with the Jewish memorial , the lower building in the picture.


In this way the layering of images, meaning and interaction with the places result in a poetic dialogue between the past / present and activate us to think about our surroundings.



Thx to Monique Pelser, Eddie Guldolf‎  & Kristof Reulens


made possible by:

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"Fractum Domum"
         (Palimpsest interventions)

Sculpture, site-specific installation, 2017-2019


"Fractum Domum, Palimpsest intervention VI" 2019, Siemensstrasse,Berlin

"Fractum Domum, Palimpsest intervention V" 2019, Siemensstrasse,Berlin


Hello Jonas,

I have been following your work since I met you in Ghent, as a recent graduate (2009). 

Your search for captivating images that are floating between architecture and image, between inside and outside, between the surface and what is and that which is safely hidden inside that shell or skin,... 


I am fascinated by your view of our private and shared space. As individuals, we are so little aware of how we are 'surrounded' by space.

We are so little aware of how we are 'surrounded' spatially. That physical space can make us cry or laugh unconsciously. 


A feeling of freedom or, on the contrary, a sense of constriction can overtake us without fully understanding that the emotion is provoked by the four walls within which we are confined, or the public space in which we walk.


These are very free and general words that do not specifically talk about the numerous fascinating installations and interventions that you have already made. Yet they summarise a certain essence of what you present within your oeuvre. 


Within your oeuvre. If I could pick out one work, I would look with great pleasure at the palimpsest

interventions that have been popping up in specific places in the public space a round the world for a number of years now. 

They are all places in the background, lost spaces, residual spaces, for which there is no interest (at least for the time being), except for graffiti artists to test their tag skills. You put classic plaster rosettes on top of them, like a new tag, but one that seems to be overgrown with moss. 


It is a work in which opposites find each other. Nature triumphs over culture; the soft moss slowly erodes the artificial floral motifs in plaster slowly but steadily.

The work brings something domestic into the public domain. A rosette makes one dream of times gone by, of a 'bygone era' when architecture was still architecture and was still allowed to excel in ornamentation.


The palimpsest interventions, by the way, remind me  of a project Ellen Harvey once realised in her home town of NY City. She very laconically called it the New York Beautification Project

(1999 - 2001) in which she clandestinely left forty small oil paintings in the public space. She

invariably chose places where graffiti art dominated the cityscape. She looked for places that she could paint with

with her small oval picturesque landscapes.


Your interventions proliferate in beauty.  As far as I am concerned, our public space may contain  more these wonderful interventions!


Mieke Mels

June 2021


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