Isabel Fredeus (°1991) is an Antwerp-based artist. She works with installations, sculptures, video and interventions. Fredeus is mainly interested in materials that are elastic, manipulative and flexible. Within her artistic practice she tries to follow signs, investigate the origin of their attraction and search for alternative meanings within them. For these reasons Fredeus works process oriented. She started off as a painter, and still thinks as one. In her practice she is mainly occupied with natural processes, physical laws and the symbolism they create. She considers her atelier as a place to explore various methodologies where irony goes hand in hand with spirituality and scientific approaches are confronted with poetic layers.
She obtained a Master in Fine Arts and a Master of Research in Art & Design at St Lucas School of Arts in Antwerp. Her work was shown at Intershop, Leipzig (DE), Extra City Kunsthal (BE), Middelheim Museum (BE), M KHA (BE). In 2015, she was a resident at Villa Ruffieux residence, Sierre (CH). She won the De Lucas award 2015, awarded by Sint Lucas University College, Antwerp (BE). She recently won the Middelheim Museum Young Artist Prize awarded by the Middelheim Promotors, Antwerp (BE). She also won the prize of the public with her sculpture 'Under The Weather'.
Everything flows and nothing abides; everything gives way and nothing stays fixed. Heraclitus (530 - 470 BC)
The work of Isabel Fredeus (* 1991) can be approached through the concept of plasticity. As an artist, she takes particular interest in the malleability or flexibility of certain materials, and their behaviour in the act of co-creation—a poietic encounter between subject and object. Rather than being static objects, her works appear as living organisms that are in constant mutation, in a vibrant state of becoming. Valuing process over product, the artist delights in rendering material variability visible on an aesthetic level.
Isabel Fredeus creates laboratory-like situations where sets of parameters are met with a touch of chance and wonder. Her practice unfolds itself in situ, in an inner dialogue with a given location. The constituent elements are simple yet endlessly intriguing in their mutual combination: the sphere, the line, the circle, the grid, the pendulum. Experiment doesn’t seek corroboration here, nor do the instruments have a specific function; everything vigorously thrives on uncertainty, indeterminacy and probability. In the oscillation between order and chaos, control and release, her works act like strange attractors.
Biologically speaking, plasticity stands for the complex ways in which biological life forms adapt to the ever-changing conditions of their environment. Instead of being self- contained, they depend on a constant transfer of matter and energy between the system and its surroundings. Correspondingly, the work of art can be considered as an ‘open system’—an idea that has been around for decades (just think of Hans Haacke, Angela Bulloch or Olafur Eliasson), but has hardly lost relevance. Fredeus’s works never exist in full isolation; her visual constellations thoughtfully probe the dynamic interstice between inside and outside, and the continuous flows between both.
Pieter Vermeulen, November 2018