in the Category: art
When we visit Ines Claus in her brand new studio to chat, she serves us three big blushing eclairs. The good kind, from the bakery down the street. As we go over her work she flutters between paintings, drawings, an installation and books. ‘It’s still too empty here.’ The work she makes comes in all sizes but with a consistent sense of mystery and humour that lures you into her world with ease.
Interview by Elise Dupré
Photos shot by Tiny Geeroms in Ghent
You graduated with an MA in Drawing at KASK, yet here we are in your gorgeous studio, surrounded by mostly paintings. Is that a clear evolution in your work?
You’re pretty free to explore on your own in that programme. I evolved to working with paint, mainly because I associate it with endless possibilities. Paint is a material I can use in different ways, it allows me to work on big canvases and allows me to work with colour in a way I’ve always looked for. And it allows the tempo that I like.
Yes. I’m trying to capture the spontaneity, the hastiness of drawing. It took me a while to figure out what material would be best for that approach. Now I mainly use black ink and acrylics. It allows me to work fast, and it dries fast too. It feels very familiar and responds well to my work.
I like working fast and I like the meta that’s in my work sometimes. Elements in drawings inspired by photographs I take, making appearances in paintings or in my books
I have the feeling you’re very productive. Was that urge to constantly create always present?
I think so. I’m always working on many different pieces at once. I like working fast and I like the meta that’s in my work sometimes. Elements in drawings inspired by photographs I take, making appearances in paintings or in my books. I’m always cutting, pasting, redrawing, installing. Surrounding myself with my work. I do feel like my process has become more deliberate nowadays. I look more, contemplate more. Working on large formats and with certain materials has slowed me down. Some require multiple layers. In one of my recent works I’m using pencil and needed to go over and over and over a detail before it had the tone and consistency I wanted.
You’re also making installations and books.
Sometimes the work just needs that. I started making these books out of classical cheap mops, sewn together quite quickly. Sometimes they’re plastified; sometimes not. I draw, paint and print on them. The feeling of flipping through the books is very uncanny. If it gets wet, the mop is ruined and then the book is lost. It’s a funny thing, and a good tension field to work with.
Some motives are recurrent in your work. Can you elaborate on your sources? What images or stories stimulate your work?
I collect books with good images and covers, and I’m also heavily inspired by the visual language of advertising and on Instagram. The thin line between high culture and borderline cheap. In my master’s I was studying the image of the palm tree in modern art and in history. They are usually imported and appeared in my work as a character.
Like the palm trees in Los Angeles, which were apparently all imported and planted there?
Exactly. Did you know there’s a little red beetle, called a palm tree weevil, that ended up in the US and is now eagerly attacking those palm trees? It’s causing quite a stir. The images of lanes with huge palm trees is so iconic, so important to that culture, and it’s currently being taken down by a little beetle. Very fascinating.
A lot of your work shows people walking, usually wearing fabulous shoes.
Yeah, I’m obsessed with shoes. I’m a fervent walker. I love how they transport you from one place to the other and can make such statements while they’re at it. There’s a pair of cowboy boots here in my studio that I painted with acrylics.
I’m obsessed with shoes. I’m a fervent walker. I love how they transport you from one place to the other and can make such statements while they’re at it
You just moved into this new studio. Would you say there are key moments in your artistic practice so far?
Art book fairs and social media have proven their value, as they put me in contact with interesting people. And I think exhibitions are always key moments. There is the build-up and the actual adrenaline when the show is over. But that’s when you also reflect on your work again: the show was great, but how do I go on from there again?
Enter Through The Void, Exit Through The Gift Shop festival
CAMPO (Victoria), Ghent
Ines Claus - Gift Shop
13 + 14 + 15 Feb - 18:00 until 23:00
Magic Island + Ohslo
14 Feb - 21:00
Free for members
Vieze Meisje + Justine Grillet
15 Feb - 22:00
Free for members
Get access to the best concerts, parties,
exhibitions and performances for just €9 a month
Explore emerging music, art and culture at
more than 50 venues in 5 cities with a single membership