Robin Vermeersch: Floating Points, 2019
Exhibition at Zwart-Huis, Brussels, 2019
During his stay at the European Ceramic Centre in ’s Hertogenbosch Robin made the sculptures presented in the exhibition ‘ Floating Points’. In preparing the works he formed clay mechanically and by hand to long and huge sausages, modulated the moulds as positive twins of the negatives, the baked sculptures themselves, did tests for the glazes, as a highly individualized process in craftmanship, to establish the personal vision and touch with the material and the techniques, from the beginning on. There is no separation of professional assistence and conceptual direction in his work. He is contrasting both sides, playing with both sides, exploring them in his own terms, facets of his art. The baked sculptures are stable, fixed, but represent woven structures, like a rope for example. You are not fooled by an illusion, yet puzzled by an association, a dissociation of material and formal impression. Before content might be discussed, in comparison with form, Vermeersch is putting the principle relation of every artwork on the foreground, the relation of matter and form. Only the crafted artist can do this, as artistic protagonists from Greek antiquity via the Arts & Crafts-movement, Russian avantgarde, up till today remind us. It is only in the context of repressing matter by transformation, in-formation, digitalization, capitalization that a distinction is made between form and matter, concept and execution, active, communicative dominance and passive enduring. The works of Vermeersch speak another language, a language coming from material presence, visual glance, tactile traces; a language of articulating form in space; of opening space by taking place; of inviting to respond; by seeing, and recognizing, that seeing an artwork is a social act, between the spectator and the presented object, a bodily relationship, between a possible speaker and the silent resistance of indifferent matter, forced to shine, to reach our imagination, a perceivable thing in front of me, to enter subjectivity and to re-enter the shared space, with the object, other spectators. A highly indirect process, never to process.
Text by Volkmar Mühleis
Photos by Vincent Everarts