Leather sculptures, 2019 2021
For several years, Vansteenkiste has been investigating the relationship between the house and the body. Hütte is one of the works that makes this relationship visible.
With the title "Hütte" Jonas Vansteenkiste strikes an etymological nail that holds together several layers of meaning. Middle English, Old French, Dutch, Frisian, Danish and even Yiddish (hoyt) know forms of that word, going back to Germanic, Proto-Germanic and even proto-Indo-European languages. It means "cover" or "conceal" and can serve as a meager house (the hut known to us), the skin that covers us (skin) and something that hides (to hide). As the ultimate limit of our body, the skin is the largest human organ. It is our "interface" with the environment. It literally holds us back and it is the surface that presents us to the outside world.
The word coincide skin and hut and points out that the house is physically but also mentally a seconds skin.
But there's more. Vansteenkistes' hut seems to coincide with the identity of its resident. He seemed to carefully choose the color of light brown and pale pink midtones for a subtle suggestion of bare human skin. Here and there, sewn-in classic windows or doors on a modeling scale remind us that this "skin" is actually abandoned architecture. The convergence of the terms "house" and "skin" took on the strange sight of a cloak that was hung away. Where is the creature that so casually left his last defense here? Is it irrevocably solved, or did another outside grow silently under this skin, like a butterfly squeezing out of its cocoon or a snake getting rid of its old scales from time to time? Can the "Hütte" symbolize the artist, who in all his disarming vulnerability exposes himself completely to the world and may even succumb to it? Or does it operate cunningly and take on a different form as a strategy of time or time, like a new building for the imagination?
based on a text of curator Frederik Van Laere
special thx to my intern Helena Cnockaert, Ruth Vieren & Germana Tack
and to Joke Anckaert