Dirk Schellekens, ©Liesbet Peremans

Dirk Schellekens

©Photo: Liesbet Peremans

Introduction

Working acrossvarious mediums includingmixed media, performance, sculpture, drawing, installation and printmaking, Schellekens is interested in the choices we make, the outcomes and the malleability of happiness and identity. His work is often a blend of poetry, surrealism, humor and absurdism.

In his recent projects transformation and temporality are key words. Schellekens makes an ongoing investigation about how the borders between art and public can vanish. He often makes works which are only visible or tangible by interaction of the public,like Change Days While Memory Is Gone, where he uses the condensed exhaled breath of visitors as a canvas to project his work on. Also ‘I Am Still Here’, anin situ artwork for Kunstroute Kyllburg,needs the collaboration of the public to fully exist. Schellekensaims to infiltrate art in daily life, to feed us with reflection, pause, doubt and curiosity. He’s often presenting a razor sharp observation wrapped in subtle layers of humor.

Intendant Jan Moeyaert on Schellekens during WatouArts Festival:

“Schellekens’ art practice enters into a direct dialogue with our society. It goes often in direct confrontation with the public, provoking and inviting them to be part of the artistic expression that often only can exist by the presence of the viewer. He activates the public and emphasizes on the ‘art for all’-idea, but never without losing the focus on the artistic inherent quality. His works invite to reflect and question accepted realities in a way that their body of art is strongly connected with human nature and society. His works and performances are at the same time iconic and embedded in social networks, they relate to all of us.”

Schellekens (1974) lives and works in Boechoutand Antwerp, Belgium

I Am Still Here

synopsis

I Am StillHere is a poetic and interactive intervention in nature and consists of twopanels, which will block the public’s view. Yet, each panel is a photographic copy of the landscape, whichone normally would be able to see, if the panels weren’t there, but the content is printed in reversed colours. Also on each print the artist is present somewhere.

With modern technology, by using your smartphone, you can discover the positive (normal) view of the panel. By standing on the right spot and by finding the right angle, the image blends perfectly with the scenery.

concept

With this interactive installation Schellekens draws out notions of time and fragility, transformation and rigor. He creates an interdependance between the shown landscape and its display, in an effort to slow down the reading of the image and to call attention to the frail transformation the landscape and its inhabitants undergo, each hour, each day, each season, each era,…

For Schellekens, a work of art is not a fleeting and consumable image, but something that requires time. It reflects, particularly in the context of the pandemic, our handling of time standing still or slowing down. In ‘I Am Still Here’ Schellekens translates the fleetingness of a photograph of an ever changing landscape into a more time-consuming process of ‘developping’yourself the picture, like in the old analog days, by using modern technology.

The negative used to be the intermediate stage of the definitive image.In this work the negative is a metaphor for the intermediate and delicate stage nature and human beings inhabit time, day after day. It is a stage in which time plays a massive role.

Many people feel that our relationship with time is in crisis. Technological developments are fragmenting our sense of time, which makes some of us feel like we’re always one step behind.

The image is a snapshot, taken one specific day, in the tumultuous times we are living in today. The presence of the artist on the picturerepresents the vunerability of all of us to changesand time. At first sight, this landscape doesn’t seem to change a lot during the past nor thecoming years, but in the light of history, also the most rugged natureappears to be much frailer than one would imagine.