Ostend, where I was born and grew up, always has been a popular bathing city, in James Ensor’s days the king Leopold II invested the money he extracted from his private project the ‘Congo Free State’ in the urban renewal of Ostend, Brussels and Antwerp, making Ostend one of the places-to-be. Even today it is a popular destination for sunbathers and fashionable loungers with a vivid gay scene. Growing up in these surroundings, together with my mother’s appetite for fashion, where she owned a stor
Ostend, where I was born and grew up, always has been a popular bathing city, in James Ensor’s days the king Leopold II invested the money he extracted from his private project the ‘Congo Free State’ in the urban renewal of Ostend, Brussels and Antwerp, making Ostend one of the places-to-be. Even today it is a popular destination for sunbathers and fashionable loungers with a vivid gay scene. Growing up in these surroundings, together with my mother’s appetite for fashion, where she owned a store and sold clothes of her own design, embedded me in a culture of beauty and body culture. My parents divorced when I was two years old. When I was twelve, my father told me he was gay, from another perspective he also immersed himself in the body culture that was an integral part of the social sphere. In the late eighties and nineties people walked around half naked during the summer. This constant confrontation with bare skin, suntanned women, my mother’s fashion magazines, the naked models in the dressing room of my mother’s fashion shows, the ritual body culture carried by the smell of cosmetics and sun oiled flesh on the beaches of Ostend condensed in my young brain.
My latest works are the fruit of a shift in perspective initiated around the beginning of 2009. I wanted to liberate myself of my own criticism towards the sources I tapped from. Therefore I searched for an inner perspective towards the same issues.
<br/>My work has always been involved with the pictorial language of persuasion and the instrumentalization of Beauty, which is called Glamour. Secondly, there is the collectively accepted notion of wanting and striving for happiness as a human fulfillment, the strongest catalyst to bring dreams and lives into motion.
<br/>We live in a transcendental capitalism, with publicity as its climate, it seems productive to confirm this state of affairs in the most vivid and motivated way possible: taking it seriously. As I took it upon myself, I started to understand this form of widespread Beauty as a philosophical system, more precisely as a détournement of Plato’s World of Forms, where the highest good is to ‘become’ and strive to be relentlessly unique in the most ultimate way as possible. To arrange my thinking about the persuasive imagery and conceptualization of lifestyle magazine glamour, I came up with the concept of The Ultimate. The Ultimate replaces the concept of the Good, or the Pure, in Plato’s original World of Forms. The Ultimate points to the future. As a concept, it keeps moving away the closer you get to it. It changes each time a new image appears, a new form is created. The Forms in the realm of The Ultimate keep changing, evolving and adapting to new aesthetics and influences. Thus Plato’s World of Forms is turned upside down to fit The Ultimate. Therefore, The Ultimate is dynamic, while the world of shadows is fixed and longs for change.
<br/>In this reinterpretation of today’s instrumentalism I developed an artistic strategy that exchanges features and qualities between objects and people. Within the climate of publicity, humans are (re)constructible. Such architectural view is immanent to publicity whereas the body surpasses, and directs, the spirit. The selection of properties assimilated with the body will consequently evoke the desired character traits.
<br/>This individual-driven process lead me towards the creation of autarchic one-man-worlds in which the architectural construction of the body assimilates elements of the objects that are desired. To achieve this I needed a visual language that, on an artistic level, intertwines the mimetic and the formal, culture and nature, system and intuition. My individuals belong to another paradigm, a higher culture of objects and people presented in the form of an extreme daydream.
<br/>The question of happiness is the catalyst of it all. By asking, but actually proposing the answer, it puts things in motion; it’s the logic of this motion I try to transmit. It brings James Ensor’s concept to mind, where a masquerade of values developed today to a situation where the mask and the agent become one.
Colored Pencils Drawing
Graphite gray pencil drawing
Felt pen drawing
Indian ink drawing
Red chalk drawing
Plastic / resin sculpture
Paper / cardboard sculpture
"It's hard to be humble when you are perfect in every way"
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