Ceramic arms, metal, mirror, 2021-2022
Subdurmal is a series of sculptures where Vansteenkiste further explores the relationship between architecture and the body. The sculptures consist of ceramic arms fixed in metal uprights, the surface of the ground is a mirror.
Vansteenkiste approaches this work as an ex voto (Latin: by virtue of a vow), promise gift, promise gift, we gift, or votive gift is an object placed near an altar or a statue of a saint in a place of pilgrimage, a church, or other sacred place as an entreaty or thanks to God or a saint for a favor to be obtained or obtained. Favors from classical antiquity are anathemata.
The object in question is not necessarily precious and often has an explicit connection to the nature of the favor obtained:
for example, a cured cripple sacrifices his crutches that have become useless;
a morphological ex voto takes the form of the body part for which healing was obtained (e.g., a woman who became pregnant after a long period of infertility sacrifices a wax or plaster image of a baby);
Some of Vansteenkiste's arms show small ceramic elements in the form of keyholes and some show white almost invisible drawings referring to the personal life of the artist.
Some sculptures consist of 1 or more arms. Although the arms radiate a strength, they have something fragile because of the way they are assembled and the fragile material used. The strong arms have willowy gestures but seem unreal without the rest of the body. They become even more fragile, also the metal supports seem to have a double agenda they support but constrict the arms.
The keyholes also seem to fester over the arms. Do these offer access to something underlying or do they distort the image.
The mirror also provides a reflection on the subject on several levels.
The title subdurmal literally refers to an underlying, subcutaneous thing, this title and the form also refers to a Piercing form.
In Vansteenkiste's work we see this reference to the keyholes appearing in the form of a piercing, but in another layer the artist is referring to the psychological subcutaneous signs that shape our bodies and minds throughout our lives.