Blessed be our ship and those who sail her


Blessed be our ship and those who sail her

It began long before May '68 and it won't ever stop: art can be colourful and childlike, and exploit motifs from the deepest layers of our memory. These qualities even inspired the name of an art movement: 'Dada' is a word plucked from the gibberish spoken by toddlers and their parents. The spontaneous and instantaneous were the preserve of the new generation. Art did not have to be a carefully orchestrated score; henceforth, improvisation was also an option. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

Whether the Dadaists were the first is irrelevant - there will always be art brut and arte povera, the performance and informal. Be it enthusiastically or cautiously, young contemporary artists also draw upon seemingly distant sources of inspiration, things that appear to have been long buried and which are only now, finally, resurfacing inside the studio and gallery. Works are created - in two, three or four dimensions - that reach out to us without any inhibitions, inspiring and/or seducing us to smile. See how foolish the world can be, and how fragments that initially appear to have no obvious connection can be combined into new forms and thus generate meanings, even when they do not want to cooperate. Art is no longer only about the individual oeuvre of an artist. Galleries often connect artists whose work is mutually reinforcing or subverting, and who already know one another. This also happens at The White House Gallery.

The installations and assemblages made by Warre Mulder (b. 1984), be they in ceramics, wood, plastic, acrylic resin or other materials, resemble totems: idols from a forgotten civilization - something very old, something from the past but also from the day after tomorrow and from all times. They are often hybrids, creatures that hover between beast and man. There are centaurs in Mulder's bestiary, as well as humorous fairy tale characters, animals and symbols, or a composite of all of these things. Travelling towards a highly personal but at the same time universal religion without gods, Mulder recycles the motifs that he encounters along the way.

Equally colourful but even more absurd is the universe of Samuel Vanderveken (b. 1982). He captures motifs and shapes within rectangles that resemble classical picture frames, but which also venture forth into space. They are systems and environments, often psychedelic-looking rooms in which the work of others can also find a place - as was the case last year with Bright in Mechelen, in which Mulder also participated. Vanderveken traces his path with equal ease across many mediums: from moving images that burst from your computer screen to a one-man magazine (ACOTIAD), and from the empty or overcrowded frames on gallery walls to temporary or permanent interventions in the public space. Anytime and anywhere.

Eric Min, April 2018

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