Victoria Adam collects, manipulates and reproduces modest and seemingly common elements such as coins, cosmetics, shells and pebbles into sculptural and formal compositions. Adam’s treatment of material, surface and scale requires the delicate artworks to be viewed up close. In her intimate and introspective sculptures, she doesn’t only play into their visual, but also their haptic and olfactory qualities. A strong sensory appeal emanates from the refined and polished appearance of the works yet the often neglected objects and raw manual handling that constitute them. This tension highlights the human need to beautify the (so-called) unseemly. References to personal or domestic interiors, the health and beauty industry, rituals and routines, and the relation to the natural - even alchemical - world characterize Adam’s practice.
Two works are part of ‘TRACES of the future’. ‘If you do not have a password, you will need a password (1-7)’ consists of a series of plaster shells, their exteriors tinted with products sourced from Adam’s everyday environment. These fragile works recall the (art)historical symbolism of sea-shells (for example as signs of supposed femininity, fertility or beauty). With the expected pearl replaced by a mirror, they also nod to modern compact mirrors and surveillance set-ups. Moreover, they reflect both the self-image of the visitor and their own perspective on the space. Their relation to each other, their constellation, was hence precisely designated, spread over the different floors of the gallery. In addition, ‘Untitled (rozen)’, a strikingly inconspicuous mural, can also be sensed on the ground floor. Through the sense of smell, the work responds to a synthetic nature made by humans. Over the course of the exhibition, the work will become more and more subtle, a softly lingering trace of what once was.
Victoria Adam (b. 1983, UK) lives and works in London. In 2015, she graduated from the Royal Academy of Art, London, and was selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2016. Recently, she had solo exhibitions at Seventeen Gallery (London, UK, 2019), Temporary Gallery (Cologne, DE, 2017) and Milieu (Bern, CH, 2016). She participated in group exhibitions at, amongst others, Arusha Gallery (Edinburgh, SCT, 2019), Tenderpixel (London, UK, 2018), Seventeen Gallery (London, UK, 2018), Galleri Opdahl (Stavanger, NO, 2017) and Assembly Point (London, UK, 2017).
BC consists of three separate entities. BC architects is an architecture agency realizing projects from small-scale renovations to urban development for both public and private clients. They prioritize an ecological approach, focusing on a sustainable building concept and the wellbeing of the end user. In their practice, local communities and co-creation on the one hand, and locally mined, produced or recovered materials with an inherent performance and natural beauty on the other play a pivotal part. BC architects draws on the knowledge of BC studies, an experimental laboratory for research projects on architectural, material and social innovation for a world in transition. BC studies manifests itself in consultancy, workshops and published research. BC materials is a cooperative enterprise, aiming to convert local waste streams, such as excavated earth from urban construction sites, into circular, CO2-neutral, healthy building materials.
Their extensive knowledge of and experience with materials such as wood, natural stone, and also earth, BC got from extensive experimental research. When developing materials in laboratories, they have their prototypes tested for pressure. The broken, failed tests provide new information every time that can be worked with further - the harder they fail, the more they tell even. These relics are therefore important milestones in the creation process, and also have an aesthetic quality in themselves. The different colour shades are the result of different mixing methods and sun exposure during the drying process. In the exhibition, a few series of these "Milestones" are shown, as traces of a journey traveled, in all their fallibility and beauty.
Four architects - Nicolas Coeckelberghs, Wes Degreef, Ken De Cooman and Laurens Bekemans - studied together at Sint Lucas Brussels (2009) and decided thereafter to group their ambitions in “Brussels Cooperation”. Sinds 2012, BC has been working, amongst others, in Belgium, France, Ethiopia, Burundi, Nigeria and Morocco. Their work was previously exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennial (2018), New York, Milan, Berlin, Brussels, Oslo and Shanghai. They won multiple awards and were published in various magazines including The Architectural Review, Dezeen and Archdaily.
The practice of Clarisse Bruynbroeck can perhaps best be described as learning to look again, with uninhibited eyes. In her work, Bruynbroeck curiously questions the relation between people and the objects that surround them. With great sensitivity for the poetry of the everyday, she zooms in on mostly banal items that frequently form part of daily routines, but that nevertheless are often neglected. By replicating or imitating for example a hair tie, a glass or a curtain in a completely different material such as silver, soap or aluminum, she undermines their original functions and forces a whole new perspective. What does the thing on its own really look like? How does it feel? How does that which remains every day impact its owner, and vice versa? Bruynbroeck subtly, haptically, knows how to mindfully hush the mindless use of objects; how to capture the fleeting moment; how to make the invisible visible. In all simplicity and imperfection.
For "TRACES of the future", Bruynbroeck combines her artistic practice with her professional employment at valerie_traan gallery. As an assistant for many years, she drew on her mental archive of exhibited works to arrive at a very personal selection. Of these impactful works, she made abstracted miniature versions from her memory. The small-scale sculptures in polished brass act as a tribute, and hence also refer to classic votive images. The installation of Bruynbroeck's work, behind the dreamy curtain, emphasizes the ethereal atmosphere of remembering and the diffuse traces left behind by some images.
Clarisse Bruynbroeck (b. 1989, BE) lives and works in Antwerp. She graduated in 2012 as a MA Jewelry and Goldsmithing at Sint-Lucas, Antwerp. In 2016, she founded her own jewelry label Woche. In recent years, she exhibited at Konvooi - Het Entrepot (Brugge, BE, 2019), valerie_traan gallery (Antwerp, BE, 2018), Bikini Art Space (Bazel, CH, 2018) and Kunstenfestival Watou (Watou, BE, 2018) amongst others. In collaboration with Ralph Collier, Clarisse Bruynbroeck also curates exhibitions.
Ignace Cami's practice is fed by his actualization of his own Heimat. Folkloric practices, historical fragments and shreds of local identity are fused with new narratives and thus find their way into his sculptures, installations, drawings and actions. He mindfully puts the collective memory of and nostalgia for cultural heritage to the test. In line with this, sits his interest in the oral storytelling culture. Cami recently invented new stories that, much like the traditional folk tales, can only exist by virtue of their oral tradition. Despite the material remains of the work - in the form of a publication or minimal physical object - Cami, through his focus on the possibilities and flaws of language, increasingly shifts the core of his practice towards the ephemeral and immaterial. In this way, he astutely creates tension between the fleeting experience of the work at a specific moment in a specific place on the one hand and the long-term carrying - or even spreading - of it on the other.
It is precisely at this intersection that his "Hotspot" can be understood. The new, in-situ work is based on the idea that this specific, prominent place in the exhibition space houses the stories of all the works of art that have been shown here over the past ten years. It is their story - however personally interpreted, inadequately remembered, passed on in fragmentary fashion - that survives their presentation. With "Hotspot" Cami feeds into those multi-layered narratives. He made brief descriptions of thirteen works that were previously shown here. These new linguistic representations stimulate the imagination, thus demonstrating at the same time the power, but also the impotence of language in all its ambiguity. That inadequacy is also reflected in their shape. Cami crumpled the descriptions, which he had gallery owner Veerle Wenes write in her elegant handwriting in fountain pen. As a reference to failed attempts, they nevertheless remain, after being read by visitors, on the hotspot of the gallery, elevated to final, fragile works of art.
Ignace Cami (b. 1986, BE) lives and works in Antwerp. He is a resident at the Jan Van Eyck Academy (Maastricht, NL). In 2019, he obtained the Master of Research in Art & Design at Sint Lucas Antwerp. He has been exhibiting (inter)nationally since 2012; recently his work was on show at CIAP (Hasselt, BE, 2019), Sint Lucas (Antwerp, BE, 2019), Gallery Gallery (Antwerp, BE, 2019), AIP (Hoboken, BE, 2017), and Coup De Ville WARP ( Sint-Niklaas, BE, 2016). He was a resident at the Frans Masereel Center (Kasterlee, BE) several times. Together with Ward Zwart, he founded the project space CRYING space. They also worked together in various collectives, such as Haas & Gaai and Boris & Kitchenknife.
Ralph Collier makes film installations, sculptures, photographs and exhibitions. In his artistic practice, Collier explores the nature of the image, the exhibition and reality by disrupting their constitutive components. He carefully manipulates their fundamental or formal characteristics, plays with their parameters. Hence, he raises questions about the value and meaning of images; how they are read and understood in a time of ‘image overload’. He undermines the time- and place-bound conventions of exhibitions, so that it is not always clear what exactly could be seen or happened. In a similar way, he explores the boundaries between reality and fiction, thereby evoking doubts between what is true and what is not, by playing on the perception. These considerations and remarks often materialize in a single visual gesture, a succinct spatial intervention, an exceptional process residue.
For this exhibition, Collier created a new work in his "Day and Date Release" series. Starting from a context-specific date, he breaks open the so-called factuality of historical events in order to add a layer of fiction to them. In the context of the tenth anniversary of valerie_traan gallery, he looked back on its founding date, November 26, and thus arrived at the birthday of playwright Eugène Ionesco. For his work, Collier had two wedding rings made, seemingly complementing the illogical twist in Ionesco's first play "The Bald Soprano." In this absurdist play, Mr. and Mrs. Martin assume halfway through that, given their shared living conditions, they are also married. Collier then had two randomly chosen sentences from the Assimil Business English-Dutch engraved in the rings, as a reference to Ionesco who found inspiration in the nonsensical dialogues of the Assimil with which he tried to teach himself English. The phrases are shown side by side, as if they were in dialogue, but they do not make sense and thus serve mainly, in analogy with Ionesco, to show how people can talk at and not with each other. The rings, their engraved sentences with no clear beginning and end, and their circular movement refer to the infinite "loop" in which "The Bald Singer" is written. The expected symbolic value of the objects therefore seems to be at odds with their underlying meaning.
Ralph Collier (b. 1994, BE) works and lives in Antwerp. He obtained his Masters in Visual Arts at Sint Lucas (Antwerp, BE, 2016) and a postgraduate degree in Curatorial Studies at KASK School of Arts (Ghent, BE, 2017). Collier previously had solo and group exhibitions at valerie_traan gallery (Antwerp, BE, 2019), Konvooi - Het Entrepot (Bruges, BE, 2019), Tique Art Space (Antwerp, BE, 2018), Bikini Art Space (Basel, CH , 2018), and Marres (Maastricht, NL, 2017). He co-curated exhibitions for CID au Grand Hornu (Hornu, BE, 2020), valerie_traan gallery (Antwerp, BE, 2019 and 2017), and Sint Lucas (Antwerp, BE, 2019).
During beach walks on near and distant coasts, Babs Decruyenaere finds the apparently inert natural elements that form the beating heart of her practice. For her, modest objects such as stones, shells and driftwood contain both an intimate emotional world and a natural-historical universe. The little gems, which she only keeps when they fit in her hand, are all documented and archived before they are featured in works of art. With these appropriated preciosa, Decruyenaere creates abstract compositions in her studio by using analogue and relatively old photographic processes, such as the camera obscura and photograms. Intuition and time are central concepts: Decruyenaere selects, associates and composes her collected finds intuitively and for this, she also needs time to search and find, to (figuratively) reflect and (literally) expose. The pure, unmanipulated medium allows her to develop a unique, minimalist formal language. It is as Wim Van Mulders wrote: "The work has the physical and psychological keynote of Babs herself: fragile, vulnerable and yet firm and strong."
In "TRACES of the future" Decruyenaere shows a hanging mobile. This sculptural translation of her formal language captures how the small and the large are intrinsically linked. Subject to changing environmental factors, the mobile repeatedly creates a random constellation, a cosmos entrusted to chance. In addition, the series "The Unbearable Lightness of a Poem" can also be seen. For this work, she increasingly blurs the lines of a poem, and with it the traces of her encounter with the poet. On the one hand, the sentences seem to float in the blank of the paper, but on the other hand they are roughly scratched in and away. The painful airiness questions the (self) protection that abstraction can offer.
Babs Decruyenaere (b. 1978, BE) lives and works in Antwerp. After her training in graphic design and visual arts (respectively at KDG Antwerp, BE, 2002 and Sint Joost, Breda, NL, 2003), she applied herself to the photographic medium. Decruyenaere recently had solo exhibitions at valerie_traan gallery (Antwerp, BE, 2021), Geukens & De Vil (Knokke, BE, 2019), Pinguin Space (Brussels, BE, 2019) and Tique Art Space (Antwerp, BE, 2018). She also participated in group exhibitions in, among others, Cid au Grand Hornu (Hornu, BE, 2020), Ruimte P60 (Assen, NL, 2018), Croxhapox (Ghent, BE, 2016), and Fotomuseum (Antwerp, BE, 2016) .
The practice of DRDH Architects encompasses architectural projects of various scale, context and building type. In their meticulous approach to architecture as not only a material but also a social and cultural discourse, they pay special attention to the particularities of a specific place. Their work is rarely developed in a generic vacuum, but on the contrary, always in relation to the surrounding landscape and urban fabric. With their holistic, integrated attitude, they succeed in making their built sites blend in with the environment, whilst transcending it at the same time. Buildings are after all, in the words of one of the founders, meant to be “good neighbours and good hosts”. In their coherent body of work, returning features are the symbiotic merging of open and sheltered qualities, of the personal and collective experience of a space, and of older, historical characteristics and new, future ones. Besides their practice, DRDH Architects hold different teaching assignments, regularly give lectures and work on publications.
Due to the current measures against the spread of the corona virus in Belgium and the United Kingdom, DRDH Architects were unable to execute their planned site-specific interventions in the gallery.
DRDH Architects was founded in 2001 in London by Daniel Rosbottom (b. 1969, UK) and David Howarth (b. 1967UK). As an internationally oriented studio, they work on projects in the United Kingdom as well as overseas, with multiple ones in Belgium. Their renowned practice was awarded with, amongst others, a Riba Award for International Excellence (2016) and nominations for the Mies van der Rohe Prize (2016-17), Architizer A+ Awards (2016), and BSI Swiss Architecture Award (2016). Their work was on show at the Chicago Architecture Biennial (2017), Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (2010), Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (2009), Art Basel (2009) and was included in the most important architecture magazines.
Topography is part of geography and studies the forms and features of land surfaces. Although not trained as a geographer, Benedikt Terwiel arguably sets to work as an artistic topographer in his practice. He focuses on narratives that reveal our understanding of different landscapes. He is drawn to the defining, but often overlooked qualities of a certain environment; to the casual routines or choreographies of city dwellers; to the disappearing or changing details that affect a spatial experience. As part of this research, he undertook several long-distance walks throughout Europe. His work, spanning from photography and film to works on paper and sculpture, hence seeks to explore methods of appropriating and representing the environment to trace and understand its cultural and historical implications. Terwiel creates a visual record, a documentary or almost archaeological depiction of shifting relationships and the (in)visible traces thereof in the (urban) terrain.
Via an old Berlin turnery, Terwiel acquired wooden prototypes of various stair balusters that were used in typical 19th-century Berlin 'Gründerzeit' buildings. Trying to classify their huge variation of forms, he was told by the turnerer that the most ornate pieces were used for the 'Vorderhaus' (the street facing building), the simpler variants for the 'Hinterhaus' (the back house) and the ordinary ones for the 'Seitenflügel' (the side wing). Their visual forms thus coincide with a specific social order. In his installation, Terwiel depicts these gradations, but also links them to a physical course. Each prototype belongs to a Berlin address, which creates a literal route. The negative imprint of the balusters contributes to the idea that they, like ghosts, like traces, bear witness to a previous presence.
Benedikt Terwiel (b. 1980, DE), lives and works in Berlin. He pursued studies at the Universität der Künste (Berlin, DE, 2009) and at the Universidad de Belles Artes de Barcelona (2004). Terwiel had solo and group exhibitions at Künstlerverein Loitz (Loitz, DE, 2020), Museum unter Tage (Bochum, DE, 2019), Kunstverein Arnsberg (Arnsberg, DE, 2017), Kunsthalle Bielefeld (Bielefeld, DE, 2013) and Skulpturenpark Köln (Cologne, DE, 2011). In 2013, he also participated in the group show “Berliner Mood” at valerie_traan gallery (Antwerp, BE, 2013). His work was supported by grants of the Stiftung Kunstfonds (Bonn, DE, 2014 and 2020), the Berlin Senat (Berlin, DE, 2011) and DAAD (DE/USA, 2009).
Unfold x Liam Reeves
Over the past two decades, the multidisciplinary studio Unfold has focused on the changing role of the designer in a digital age. The practice therefore concentrated on developing new ways to create, manufacture and distribute, by combining traditional craftsmanship with high-tech production methods. Their attempts to make the digital physical again are based on unwavering attention to research, experiment and process. In addition to more "static" end products, Unfold also designs thoroughly tested "tools" that can innovatively shape the future.
Liam Reeves is a glassmaker with years of experience in the technical and creative possibilities of glassblowing. Much of his artistic research has consisted of looking for ways to introduce historical techniques into a contemporary context.
Unfold has previously collaborated with Reeves: two of his small amorphous glass shapes were used for the desk lamps in Unfold's famous "Skafaldo" series. Unfold now integrated a third, larger form for "Grid Study # 2" into a geometric structure consisting of nylon connectors and paper rods. The “glass bubble” was first scanned in 3D; the software then translated this digital form into a grid that best encloses the glass. In a relatively rudimentary manner, the glass is thus nested in the rigid construction. As the title suggests, this work is a step in the development of objects that combine tools and concepts from several recent projects, in which objects were supported by similar “scaffolding”.
Unfold was founded in 2002 by Claire Warnier (b. 1978, NL) and Dries Verbruggen (b. 1979, BE) and based in Antwerp. They are both alumni of the Design Academy (Eindhoven, NL, 2002). They also both hold mentoring and teaching assignments. Their work has previously been shown at the New Museum (New York, US), Design Museum (London, GB), Istanbul Design Biennial (Istanbul, TR) and Z33 House for Contemporary Art (Hasselt, BE) and was published in among others Domus, Dezeen, New York Times and Metropolis Magazine. In 2014 they won the Henry van de Velde Award for Young Talent and in 2017 they received the Award for Designers of the Year.
Liam Reeves (b. 1975, UK) lives and works in London. He holds an MA in Ceramics and Glass from the Royal College of Art (London, UK, 2011). His work has recently been shown in exhibitions at London Glassblowing (London, UK, 2019 and 2016), Saatchi Gallery (London, UK, 2019 and 2017), Christie's (London, UK, 2017 and 2016), AD Gallery (Antwerp, BE, 2018 and 2015) and Maison & Objet (Paris, FR, 2014). He was nominated twice for the Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon Prize (2015 and 2016) and won the RCA Charlotte Fraser Award (2010).