En Flamme, a group show on destruction and creation, Vilvoorde, Belgium, until 22 May 2016 (finissage 22 May 2-6 pm)

Sam Steverlynck May 2016
Fire might be a force of destruction but it also often stands for passion and creation – think of the technique of burning land to make it fertile again. With this as a point of departure, Belgian visual artist Nathalie Vanheule unites the work of eight artists at Firma, a new art space in Vilvoorde, a stone’s throw from Brussels.

In her own practice as well – both as an artist and in her curatorial activities – Vanheule often works with the themes of fire and passion. For example, the catalogue produced for her previous exhibition, Vanitas Extended, could be partially burned. The new works on view include paintings made with ash.
But where did the idea come from to curate this show? “I was first invited for a solo”, she informs. “But the invitation came the day after the Paris attacks. So I wanted to respond to that horror with warmth and passion. Hence the idea to share the space with other artists who also work with the theme of creating something out of destruction.”
This is definitely the case with Philippe Van Wolputte. The artist is known for his interventions in rundown buildings that he later translates into installations and graphic work. On view here is a photocopy of a picture of an earlier intervention in Oostende.

Joris Van de Moortel also sees destruction as a creative force. He makes wild performances with several of his bands. The remnants of these function as sculptures, like the cylindrical stage he used for an earlier gig that has now become a display for a video.
Untitled, Philippe Van Wolputte
Joachim Coucke also touches dark matter. Often working with dated technical appliances such as old cables or USB-sticks, he has made an installation that seems to spell the word ‘flow’, a reference to a sub-Internet where paedophiles and terrorist meet. Other works in the exhibition are by Hannelore Van Dijck (a hyperrealist drawing of a pitch-black wall, expressing a claustrophobic feeling), Christof Zwiener, Bianca Bondi and Stefan Peters. So how do Vanheule’s activities as a curator and artist relate? “For me, both go together perfectly”, she says. “Curating is about working together with artists and helping them. That mutual enrichment is the driving force, while the motivation for being an artist is more personal. Creating art or an exhibition is about the transfer and transformation of sensitivity.” She then adds: “They could forbid me from being a curator but not from being an artist!” En Flamme is at Firma in Vilvoorde, Belgium, until 22 May 2016; the finissage is on 22 May 2-6 pm and includes a series of live performances.      
How a sculpture becomes a video, Joris Van de Moortel
FLOW, Joachim Coucke
hannelore van dijck
EVERGREEN- Eendracht maakt kracht, Christof Zwiener
stefan peters

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Sam Steverlynck

Brussels-based art critic Sam Steverlynck writes for DAMN° and various other publications. In 2014 he curated A Simple Plan, an exhibition in a private villa designed by Stéphane Beel. He is also one of the driving forces behind an artists’ residency in a 1958 villa designed by artist/architect René Heyvaert.

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