For ULTERIEUR, Avee Gallery contacted over a dozen Belgian artists and companies that could provide them with remnants of glass, wood, metal, and scrap. As the annual interior and furniture design fair Interieur in Kortrijk isn’t taking place this year, Avee Gallery took up the initiative to unite artists with materials and to show the reassembled, upcycled works at ULTERIEUR. Many of the participating artists have never made a piece of furniture before.
Online, an article dating back to 2010 brings it together nicely, writing: “Unlike traditional recycling, in which materials like plastic and paper are gradually degraded and can be reused only a limited number of times, upcycling turns waste into products of greater value. That offers hope for achieving the biggest goal of environmentally-minded design, using materials, again and again, to keep them out of landfills. Supporters call it closing the loop.” (1)
In keeping with its central principles — decimating, recycling, and regenerating — an artist at ULTERIEUR might well move into one of the closets for a couple of days, and something that looks like a rack could also be a clothes hanger.
The show breathes material properties. Its employment of discarded or recuperated matter is undoubtedly attributable to the surprising associative capacities of scarcity, necessity, and abundance that rule on a daily basis in an artist's studio. Looking at the re/upcycled pieces, you imagine finding a center point of gravity on a newly assembled chair. The touch of a stone knife handle. The height of a monument alluded to in a sketch. The moment you draw the curtain and the image changes.
Objects of common use seemingly change shape due to familiarity. I remember the cups we had as children: IKEA, with dark blue dots and thick rims soft to the lips sipping the tea. One day I forced myself to look at one of these cups with fresh eyes, and I noticed the dots’ paint was blotting, like it was evaporating, and that the cup was at least a third smaller than I had always taken it to be.
In this process of making, the commissioned work has a rhythm of browsing/picking, and a feeling of comfort specific to potential. It would be fair to say that ULTERIEUR rethinks our structural memory.
The exhibition is visible through the 24m window
Open by apointment only
(1) 2010 article from The New York Times