Atlas of a Pond
What drives me is the need to understand, and to translate this understanding into something visible for others too. I take a lot of photographs and use these to investigate the purely visual side of natural phenomena: how things look on a certain moment, the possible patterns and their superficial beauty. I like using photographs because they are snapshots: they represent a frozen moment, which gives me the time to analyze this representation of the overall movement. Any visual image is composed by different individual pieces that fit together perfectly. It’s interesting to take them apart, to isolate these different components. By doing so, I can understand how the picture is visually constructed. To do this, I make line drawings of all the different elements and put a grid on these patterns. Then I can use that grid to switch the drawing to a different format, so I can recompose the image. I call these drawings Rescaling drawings; followed by the number they are multiplied by to get the painting in another format.
But this is not enough. I want to go deeper into these phenomena than just analyzing what you can see, so I also use the exact sciences to reach this goal. I study the physics, biology, chemistry and so on, in the hope to get a more complete image, to get the entire picture. There is so much beauty to be found in the intrinsic logic of nature, and I need to understand all of it. Everything.
As a way to get over the difficulty of trying to communicate the beauty of an abstract logic, I have started working on the idea of an atlas, in which I hope to find a better way to communicate the overflow of information. As my master’s project, I have worked around the pond in my back yard. I was there when it was dug out, which has a symbolic beauty for me: it is as if I was there at its birth, as if there is less history to take into account. The clear origin – or starting point – relieves the place from an overflow of histories to reckon with. It was also necessary for myself to work around the integral idea of that pond: the ecology, the system, mainly for myself, because I want to understand all the different components of this ecological network. To do this I am taking photos and short movies and I am making drawings and paintings. I have also collaborated with a biolab based in Ghent. Together, we have looked at things like bacteria, plankton, pH of the water and so on and we plan to expand this in the future and experiment with it more.
I would like to stress that, even though for me the atlas is an indispensable and essential part of the work, that doesn’t mean that a viewer necessarily needs both. The painting on itself strives for an understanding of phenomena, and looking at this intrinsic beauty can be enough for some people. I strive for an understanding, which will be different in every person.