The work of Tom Volkaert (b.1989, Antwerp) focuses on material processes, exemplifying the changes in material qualities throughout the making process. He opts for an intuitive way of creating: understanding the fragility of each interval material, yet allowing them a certain level of independence, introducing the essential ingredient of chance to his process. Each item produced is an example of Volkaert’s imperfect quest for the absolute potential of the raw materials he chooses to use. Relics of improvements and repairs are a constant feature in Volkaert’s designs, contributing to a vison of unsettled beauty and horror, perfection and defective.
The Dutch designer has recently published his first book, an oeuvre of his inventory. The title: “As slow as possible”, is a reference to Aesop's fable about the snail and the hare, he enjoys referencing outside of the art world, “not everyone is unique and everything has happened before,” Volkaert has said. The visual ideas of the key figures in the art world can be very defining for a field and can be paralyzing. "That's why I relate to stories that have nothing to do with art history." Uninhibited in his intuitive way of creating and in the depth of his technical research, he tries to act “as slow as possible”.
Volkaert's sculptures present themselves as untouched to the world. The mysterious iron, clay and resin forms fascinate, forcing the onlooker to observe each and every angel. The theoretical distance we have from a work is abandoned making way for a chaotic awakening of sensory impressions.
Fascinated by the hollow spaces in his ceramic works, Volkaert recently started to work with transparent materials. His epoxy pieces reveal the inside of his works for the first time, further depriving the possibility of association. By disclosing all areas of his work, Volkaert further strips any illusion the onlooker may have previously perceived. He resolutely opts for the full formality. This time nothing stands in the way of the viewer to fully “see” the work.
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