Excerpts of a discussion with Philippe Van Wolputte, October 2012
"All the works of mine are dealing with these hidden spaces or places that I try to break open. But in fact, all the forbidden places I’m exploring all the time are not so dangerous or special.
For instance, let’s take In-depth Study (2006), a work I did in Ghent. There was a tunnel leading to the military buildings. For safety reasons, I was told to forbid the access to the audience. But some people went in anyway. Although there was nothing to see, for the tunnel was obstructed.
With Profound Fascination (2008), the tunnel entrance was intentionally too high, although some people climbed to reach it. It happens sometimes that some persons actually try see what’s behind, but often most of them prefer just to imagine. That’s why I’m often using this drive to look inside as a motor of fiction.
Once, I created a fictional documentation about an underground shelter in Utrecht (Covered Yet Possible, 2009). Although there was an actual hatch somewhere outside, it wasn’t leading to a tunnel. It seemed really out of place, but some people though it was real and were disappointed they couldn't get inside. I put a chain in a way that people could only peak a little bit inside and see only darkness.
Most of my work is fictive. And if it happens to be a recreation of something real, I try to make it a bit clumsy. So I’m not trying to imitate something.
I’m not into realistic reconstitution; I’m more into a naïve emulation of the reality. The first time I consciously worked like that was with 16m Commemoration (2006). I was exploring a tunnel in Croatia, but I didn’t go deep enough, because I didn’t have light. So when I got back home I was frustrated. So for an exhibition in MuHKA, I tried to recreate the tunnel. I made it with found material, but it was very obvious that it was a reconstruction, like the back of a theater set. The whole process was fed by this frustration, which disappeared once I was in the fake tunnel. It’s weird.
Once I wanted to investigate a building. But it got demolished before I could. So I felt this frustration again. And I learn to work with it. That’s for the same kind of reasons that I like to work with cheap material.
I never produced actual sculptures before the ones in this show, for my constructions always imply that the visitor has to get into them, which relates more with installations. Even A Glimpse From Below (2012) or Covered Yet Possible (2009), where it was only possible to walk around, implied an inside, although unreachable. Most of my work deals with this movement of entering to look to what’s not visible, whether possible or not.»