New Masters: NADAR

Young artist-collective NADAR consists of Tine Deboelpaep, Maxime Brigou and Eva Dobbels. With a mission to give young artists a platform and to liven up Ghent’s artscene, NADAR recently opened their first exhibition at their gallery Ontsteking, which offers an alternative way to show artwork compared to the conventions that exist today. We met up with the three ladies of the clan, to take a trip down the memory lane of S.M.A.K. and MSK. In the current exhibition works from S.M.A.K. return to their original location of installation in MSK. Three key works will be on show until the end of September: The Aeromodeller by Panamarenko, Wirschaftswerte by Beuys and Le Décor et son double by Daniël Buren.

Interview by Noor Al-Bender
Photos shot by Tiny Geeroms in MSK, Ghent

How did NADAR, your collective, come about?
Tine: We used to share a workspace, through Nucleo, for half a year. When the end of our time there came, we didn’t have a clear plan but since many people we knew were working on music at that time, we had the idea to organise an exhibition/concert.
Maxime: We were discontent with the way how art is displayed nowadays. For example, my work doesn’t fit in this conventional context, so we tried to create a new context for these kinds of works.

We were discontent with the way how art is displayed nowadays

Eva: Combining different media was very interesting to us. The first exhibition we did featured a concert within an artwork, which also created a context for that concert.
Tine: People often choose the easy way out when it comes to showing art. We chose the radical way from the start, since we got the opportunity to rent Ontsteking, our gallery, and built it into what we wanted it to be.
Maxime: We noticed that Ghent needed a space for young artists to show their work the way they want it. That’s not easy right after you graduate. So we kind of rolled into it, and now it’s bigger than we ever could’ve imagined.

You recently opened the first exhibition at Ontsteking. How was that?
Maxime: It went really well. A lot of people came and the reactions were positive. We worked with some great artists. In a certain sense you can say that we are the curators, but we don’t see it that way. It’s very important to us that the artists have a say in how the exhibition is built up, because we don’t want to get stuck in a routine.
Tine: We’re not saying this is the right way to organise an exhibition, we just offer an alternative next to the existing narrative. Something that feels more natural to us.
Eva: We felt that a lot of people were interested in the possibilities here.

We don’t create art together, but the essence of our visions is the same

How would you describe your works and your creative processes?
Maxime: All three of us make very different work. My own work comes to be by putting energy into something and seeing what comes out of it along the way. The entire process encompasses chaos, making (un)conscious decisions, and the consequences that come with it.
Tine: I have a slower way of working. I manipulate the way my works are viewed. I can place them in layers that I draw from pop culture and certain influences in my life, so this creates a suggestive image, rather than showing the true emotions behind it.
Eva: In my work you need to search between the layers. I take photos with a camera obscura which can take anywhere from 2 minutes up to 6 hours. I choose a point of view – which I sometimes change in the middle of taking the picture – but I never know for sure what the camera is going to capture.
Tine: We don’t create art together, but the essence of our visions is the same.

What are your biggest sources of inspiration?
Maxime: Usually I get inspired by the matter in front of me, but down the line, the piece starts going its own way, and so I have to make decisions about the atmosphere and what it wants to say.
Tine: It varies a lot for me, from things I see during daily life on the street, and lately also a lot of medieval art. I incorporate so many layers in one piece, that often the source of inspiration isn’t clear anymore.
Eva: It’s just impressions and things you see. It’s important to keep your eyes open and absorb everything surrounding you.

What are your favourite works in the MSK en S.M.A.K. Heen & Terug exhibition?
Maxime: Absolutely Panamarenko. I never noticed before that materialism was so important in his work. As a sculptor, I think I can always find something interesting in other works.

Once you enter the work, you forget you’re in a museum

Eva: I love Daniël Buren. I think the setting plays a big role in his work. Once you enter the work, you forget you’re in a museum, which I find very interesting.
Tine: I personally have more of a fascination with Beuys, and the intellectual he was, separate from the work here. The way he shared his vision, is very fascinating to me.

Could you link some works to your own works and your exhibition at Ontsteking?
Maxime: The pieces carry a certain societal or political criticism, but our works don’t have that, so finding a link in that way is difficult. But visually, the materials remind me of what I usually work with.

Members have free access to MSK, Ghent from 1 till 30 April. Currently on display: MSK en S.M.A.K. Heen & Terug.
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