Over the years, the Belgian artist Filip Vervaet (Born in 1977 in Mechelen, Belgium) has developed a particularly idiosyncratic visual language. Using the most diverse materials from traditional bronze and metal to special paints used for auto-tuning and color filters he combines various elements into a special universe. Art historical references, links to existing or non-existing civilizations, and allusions to science fiction come together in sculptures that exist in the fringes of past and future, and explore the boundaries of the medium.
Galerie Ron Mandos
is presenting Inner Garden, an exhibition by Filip Vervaet. The Belgian artist has transformed the gallery into an inner garden where the notions of inside and outside intertwine. Inner Garden is a dreamscape that evokes a science fiction-like atmosphere. Vervaet presents a reality that seems both familiar and alienating.
In the sand-filled spaces of the Inner Garden we find wondrous objects in which natural scenes can be recognized. Artistic media such as light and color filters are also used to shape our view on nature. Vervaet poses the question what do we experience as natural and how do we shape that experience?
Over the years, Vervaet has developed a particularly idiosyncratic body of work. As a sculptor, he works with traditional materials such as bronze, stone, and clay, and he creates large-scale installations and immersive experiences. Yet, he presents himself as a landscape painter who, in the tradition of Romanticism, creates images of fictional landscapes.
In his work, Vervaet examines the relationship between man and nature, and often refers to the perfectibility of nature. He is fascinated by the way we bend nature to our will how we build parks with scenic viewpoints, fountains, and infrastructure to make our visit as pleasant as possible. With Inner Garden Vervaet addresses the absurdity of the makeable world.
Vervaets Inner Garden is an experience. His work is monumental and material by nature, but also reveals its immateriality and changeability. Vervaet plays with the reflection of light, color, and the viewers point of view. His sculptures transform slowly as a result of wind and oxidation. And so does our own experience the longer we stay inside the Inner Garden, the more we become aware of the dream we are inhabiting.
But who says this dream could not become a reality? The way we treat nature today makes it a realistic scenario that planet Earth will one day be like this. Inner Garden has the look of a desolate post-apocalyptic world, where one finds traces of human activity and fossils of exotic plants. However, no human being makes appearance in this world.
From the post-apocalyptic, threatening scenes of his earlier work, Vervaet is increasingly evolving towards the artificial representation of nature. Exotic leaves that have been cast in aluminum and assembled into a new species; rough, irregular rock formations; bas-reliefs of imaginative plants in which the traces of his modeling fingers are still visible, they are all examples of the way in which Vervaet bends nature to his will. In this way, he refers to the perfectibility of nature, a recurring theme in his work.
He also increasingly brings to the fore the process-based aspects of his work by making casts of molds and turning them into new sculptures. This approach is fully in line with his obsession with the medium of sculpture. If initially he seemed to adhere to an existing tradition, he now increasingly goes his own way.
With his work, Vervaet aims to uncover the black holes in our perception, provide a glimpse of another reality, the subconscious, the supernatural. To this end, he also often works with the inside of the sculpture, as a metaphor for the subconscious. The result is a psychedelic dream world that is as fascinating as it is elusive.
Text by Sam Steverlynck
After studying at Sint-Lukas and the HISK, Ghent, Filip Vervaet exhibited in Belgium and abroad. Solo exhibitions took place in Cultuurhuis De Warande, Turnhout, Antwerp, PLUS-ONE Gallery, Antwerp and Cinnnamon Gallery, Rotterdam. His work was also shown in duo/group exhibitions in Lokaal 01, Antwerp, 38CC, Delft, Damian and the Love Guru, Brussels, Lustwarande, Tilburg, Van Buuren Museum, Brussels, among others. He is represented by PLUS-ONE Gallery, Antwerp and Cinnnamon Gallery, Rotterdam. His latest show Cascade in Vlaams Cultuurhuis De Brakke Grond in Amsterdam was awarded four stars in NRC. In 2022 Vervaets work will be on display at Galerie Ron Mandos in an exhibition titled Inner Garden.