Grid In the studio,
The role of the studio space
My studio plays a specific role in the framework of my practice. I use the studio for production; I make installations, sculptures and drawings that are based on the spatial and formal qualities of the studio space itself. The studio space fuels the creation process. It allows the possibility for its space to be filled. However, the context of the studio will always direct me since I can’t just do what I want with it; my studio is therefore often critical to the practice.
My studio consists of three nicely proportioned rooms, all connected with double doors. The floor has beautiful tiled motifs. The space has a domestic, warm feeling. At the same time, I treat it like a workshop and a laboratory that gives me the freedom to be radical. The architecture and the space of the studio set the conditions by which my artistic ideas take shape. In the past, I investigated how radical interventions in the studio can create a poetic reading of the studio space itself. The interventions arise out of an intuitive, reflective process concerned with taking up space and altering the spatiality of the studio space itself by means of radical additions to the space.
The interventions take the form of test installations or prototypes that are temporarily finished. The definitive conclusion to these test installations will come later. For now, I investigate how the studio can be a place that triggers a reflective mental process, producing work that takes up the whole space of the studio. The studio contains the image and is at the same time an experiential space. Like, for example, in the installation Grid in the Studio where one of the rooms of the studio is for a large part taken up by a space-filling, impenetrable grid. It’s a radical autonomous intervention and at the same time only a prototype structure (that would inspire other grid structures in other places).
To me, the studio is also a mental space that allows me to imagine spatial interventions. I investigate how to represent these imaginary interventions in the form of models and drawings with a specific scale and materiality. At the same time, my studio is a place where I can materialise ideas that originate from the mental space I imagine in drawings and in sketches. In some videos I’ve made in my studio, the studio is a place with history and content. In these cases, it’s as if the studio is a set. The ceiling, the walls and the characteristics of the rooms, together with the contents of the studio, provide a spatial context for scenarios to unfold. In the video Painting the Studio Space (2001), the contents of the studio can be seen as a setting for the video. The setting was not staged, however; a real moment in time was captured. The medium of video allows me to observe and register in a direct manner. In a similarly direct way, I use the medium photography to give an account of projects that I make in the studio. It’s a subjective way of formulating a line of thought about the experiences of taking up and defining space. One example is the extensive project Grid in the Studio, in which, over the course of six months, I photographed the spatial development of how a grid structure slowly took up the whole space, like a virus.
In this regard, I see the use of different mediums in my sculptural practice in line with the following statement by Rosalind Krauss in the text ‘Sculpture in the Expanded Field’.
'This suspicion of a career that moves continually and erratically beyond the domain of sculpture obviously derives from the modernist demand for the purity and separateness of the various mediums (and thus the necessary specialisation of a practitioner within a given medium). But what appears as eclectic from one point of view can be seen as rigorously logical from another. For, within the situation of postmodernism, practice is not defined in relation to a given medium-sculpture-but rather in relation to the logical operations on a set of cultural terms, for which any medium-photography, books, lines on walls, mirrors, or sculpture itself-might be used.'
My studio space allows me to investigate ideas relating to the physical experience of space and time. It is possible to use the studio as a mental space that can trigger the imagination. The studio gives me the possibility to conduct sculptural try-outs on a larger scale or it can be a setting for videos. The content of the studio and the space itself can inspire certain scenarios.
(1) R. Krauss, Sculpture in the Expanded Field, October, Vol. 8, spring 1979, pp. 30-44.
Painting The Space of my Studio
camera editing Birgit Sterckx
The video Painting the Space of my Studio consists of sequences of me painting a metal wire that hangs throughout the three rooms of my studio.
Like the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) used to make compositions in his studio with his own works, as settings for his photos, I made a series of visual settings in my studio with the intention of saying something about form and material in relation to space. In Brancusi’s photos, the finished sculptures are somehow clearly placed in value. Other elements in the picture seem to support and underline the material and formal quality of the one or two finished objects. What interests me in the photos is that he used the spatial and material context of the studio to offer a new perspective on his works. When I composed the background for the video I used fragments of works to create a new perspective, to give an insight into my field of interest. The setting is like one big, spacious collage with fragments of works and try-outs for sculptures and drawings. The compositions are made in reflection of my interests in form, space, materiality and light. It becomes a frozen setting in relation to and in dialogue with the physical act of painting the line in space. By painting the line, I am pointing out my interests.
Up an Under the Studio Space
Looking at 'The Content of the Studio, 1998'