in the Category: art

Diverting an earthly focus towards the unknown universe

De Studio has welcomed the rousing artistic duo Daems Van Remoortere, Lena Daems and Frederik Van Remoortere. They’ve put together an outdoor video installation for Antwerp Art Weekend titled Ballooning a House, in which a tiny circle continues to grow into an enormous black hole inside a nostalgic worker’s cottage. ‘It represents how reality eventually takes over from illusion’, Lena explains. Following the exhibition, we had a lovely little chat with Lena - the female part of Daems Van Remoortere - on the artists’ life and the birthing process of their works.

Interview by Victor Seys

On the island Tiengemeten, which regularly floods, stands a small workers' house from the end of the 18th century. This house inspired the Antwerp artist duo Daems Van Remoortere. In their video installation Ballooning a House, a circle gradually begins to grow like a gigantic black hole inside the house. The work shows how reality eventually takes over illusion. The projection is set up on the water. The house slowly collapses. The smoke from the falling debris becomes real and spreads further outside the projection. This video installation is a surrealistic game between the projection and the park.

What was the inspiration for this work?

Imagine being in space, seeing our houses as endless tiny dots. It’s remarkable how we each build up our lives inside of these four walls. We consider nightfall - when the horizon disappears - as a different point of view of a larger whole. 

Ballooning a House questions the way in which we as people are part of this bigger whole. Concerning the name, it started as a joke. (Laughs) Reprehensible actually, but in the end, it became a good metaphor for wrecking - ballooning the house.

Ballooning a House questions the way how we as a person are part of this bigger whole

Is it an advantage to be able to work as a duo?

I understand there can be clashes, but in our environment, that’s not the case. Our bond has grown in a really organic way. We both have our ideas and up to this day that has luckily always felt reinforcing. It’s about bringing them together, actually - the more ideas, the more possibilities. 

The more ideas, the more possibilities

Did this extraordinary period have its influence?

The very first lockdown felt kind of paralyzing: not really knowing what’s happening and no perspective. It was the same for all of us, I guess. There’s a huge amount of our work on hold at the moment; let’s hope we can set that ball rolling again soonish. This crisis brings a whole lot of problems, but it can be a source of inspiration as well. 

I think we exceed the regular painter or photographer here

Any tips for fellow artists?

Try to see the bigger picture, indoors and outdoors. Aim for a diverse workflow, tell your story with different media just like we have always done. I know it’s not that clear-cut, but it’s worth the shot. Try not to commit nor limit yourself to one single medium. Not to be smug about it, but I think we exceed the regular painter or photographer here. 

Ballooning a House - Stadspark, Rubenslei, 2018, Antwerp
13 until 15 May from 21:45 until 23:00