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Jan Vercruysse shifted from writing poetry to producing visual art in 1974. During that time, his work dealt with the condition of poetry and art in general and led to a conceptual methodology, though without abandoning visual and poetical references to beauty. He often works in series, combining sculpture, writing and objects with photography or installation. The central theme in his work shifted around 1984 from the photographed self-portrait to the sculptural still-life, where wooden elements such as frames, panels and mantelpieces create an abstracted image. In 1984, he created his first Chamber which led to the series of Atopies that began in1984/85. The notion of Atopia (in contrast to Utopia) implies elements indicating a place but not having one. The wooden mantelpiece, a contradiction in itself, is a detail that suggests an existing space, to such an extent even that a continuous ambiguity remains between the figurative creation of an atmosphere and the function of abstract elements.