Saatchi Gallery Schools Prize

Instituut Sint Maria

Antwerp, Belgium

Project Groenplaats An underground anamorphism USCA December 2016 A contemporary cave painting The students of the Sint-Maria Instituut embarked on an underground adventure, working for one week on the transformation of a subterranean parking space. The setting was given. Curator Jan van Woensel occupied the space for a few months, allowing visual artists, musicians, thinkers and speakers to have a new look on their own and other people’s work and ideas. The space where the students could work was the connections between level -1 and -2 in the parking space. A confined, slowly descending space with no inherent purpose, other than to connect the two levels. Grey concrete, TL-light and crash barriers delivered the atmosphere the students wanted to break open. A sense of bewilderment and organic change as you would walk up and down the space, could be a way out. The decisions then grew organically, like the overall shapes, and the idea of transformation and anamorphism became a playing ground. Projecting lines and shapes, ranging from nature and portrait to geometrical and organic abstraction, brought limitation and liberation at the same time. With Hans Holbein’s “The Ambassadors”, and the anamorphic of the skull, in mind, figurative elements now could become abstract, depending on ones position. Moving through this space, as anonymous as it seemed before, now became as much a part of the transformation as the actual projections and drawings. Limescale structures, developed through time, and present on the walls and the ceiling, became part of the chalk drawings. Like the reliefs of a cave would inspire the shape of a bison, these a priori drawings, became part of the organic whole. The portraits A week before the all-over mural was made, the students worked around the theme of portraits and the transformation of portraits into something else. This project took place in the same location as the mural project and some of the gravity of being in this confined space found its way into the drawings. Using mainly charcoal, the students adapted to their new dusty habitat and the space and the results gradually became a coherent whole. Some of these portrait drawings were then remade in a lineair way and used for the drawings on the walls and the painting on the stretched out canvas on the floor. This canvas was later presented in the school yard, resulting in a surprising new situation. Through the looking glass While the project was being executed, Jan asked us if we could do something with the entrance space. A photograph of the students at work in white overalls, was projected on the walls surrounding the entrance door. This projection was also traced in white chalk, leaving a ghostly glimpse of the process of what was going on twenty meters away. The entire work in progress was filmed and photographed by one of the students, Tom Van Tricht. The result is a combination of realtime film and time-lapse, showing both an overall, rhythmical proces as a detailed observation of certain tangible actions. Work surface: 500m2 Canvas painting: 18m.-5m. 25 students, 25 overalls Ages: 15-16-17-18 years Classes: 3BAK 4 BAK 5 VBK 6 VBK 500 chalks 10 Liters of black paint