in the Category: art

New Masters: Nello Margodt

‘Did you record my joke?’ As we went to Ostend to visit Mu.ZEE with Nello Margodt, we ventured from jokes, to politics and back again. Yet we did talk about art too in the city of Ensor, Arno, and Nello’s grandparents. About the art of interviewing as well as the art of painting in the light of MuZee’s exhibition ‘Hoe? Boer! – “Dada now, and later, Dada for always”’. Somehow like a surrealist, Nello’s work is built up by images following each other as unpredictable as the weather at the seaside in October.

Interview by Milena Maenhaut
Photos shot in Ostend by Tiny Geeroms

What are you currently working on?

I just moved into a new atelier, which I share with a friend who’s working on screen printing. We’re having an opening soon, which motivates me to get started again after having travelled this summer. Right now I’m working on three paintings at the same time, they sort of belong together.

Is it confusing working on different paintings at the same time?

Not for me. Since I work on different paintings simultaneously, the ideas move from one to the other. It creates freedom: an image is never fixed and the process becomes a narrative, a correspondence between different images on the canvas. I paint over or scrape away elements I’m not happy with and try to revive others. When there’s an image I don’t feel at ease with, it immediately has to go. Those three canvases have been home to at least thirty different images in the past week. That’s why I like to paint as a drawer: it allows me to keep working. During drawing I often got to the point where my paper was broken. My works are built like the action-reaction system of the watermills I grew up with: an image is a reaction to the previous one.

My works are built like the action-reaction system of the watermills I grew up with: an image is a reaction to the previous one

It looks like your work gains form during the process of painting itself. Did you ever try to start from a fixed concept?

It doesn’t happen often, but I did. Some time ago I sketched a very abstract version of a boat and suddenly its majesty grasped me. So I decided to draw it on a huge raw canvas.

Wout Hoeboer was making art 24/7 since he worked as a graphic designer and illustrator during his work and leisure time. Do you recognize yourself in that model?

I don’t like to think about art in a commercial way. Working like Hoeboer would harm my practice. I’m constantly looking for freedom. I don’t want to let my surroundings restrain me. I’m combining making art with jobs as a bartender and as a cleaning man. Those jobs allow me to clear my mind so I can be creative afterwards. I wouldn’t do a job that also requires that kind of attention.

What do you think about the exhibition?

I’m very intrigued by surrealism. We saw a few Cobra artists today. They were constantly thinking about how they could work as freely and spontaneously as possible, without influence or premeditation. I love the freedom they create for themselves by making absurd associations, it’s something I recognize myself. My thesis is about free association, but in text instead of images. I write short stories and I’ve wanted to write more for a long time. Now that I have to, can you think of something nicer?

I’m captivated by the way spaces work in museums and galleries. If you enter an exhibition you should be able to say ‘cool’ or ‘sucks’. I don’t think you’re supposed to justify yourself. It’s a feeling.

If you enter an exhibition you should be able to say ‘cool’ or ‘sucks’

Did you have that feeling about some works here?

I did! Sometimes the only thing I do on exhibitions is looking for things I can use in my own work. I am still learning a lot. I felt like I could learn from this untitled work of Sergio Dangelo. I’m fascinated by how he made a frame out of the textile structure, yet at the same time it’s some kind of collage. The way in which Dangelo arranged the newspaper clippings feels very graphical to me. It’s something I want to touch, something I want to take home. 

Untitled, Sergio Dangelo


I’m also a fan of Pierre Alechinsky, such as this Enchanted Volcano. It’s very hip. I like the colors he uses, the painting almost becomes a trippy, hippie mural. Alechinsky works with lines and forms in a very fresh way. He doesn’t deny the canvas. That’s something I struggle with: keeping the canvas visible yet making sure the image is autonomous.

I always pick out works I feel amused by, like this untitled one by Hoeboer. I like the vibe, the combination of the three main elements together and a very naive roadside with a landscape behind. You can sense that Hoeboer had fun painting it.

Untitled, Wout Hoeboer


You said earlier that you were intrigued by how spaces work. Did you ever experiment with spatiality?

Yes, a bit. In the future I want to think more about how works interact with a space. Sometimes at exhibitions I feel like they don’t experiment enough with the setup. It’s a search that fascinates me a lot. I once hung arches on a wall. The initial idea was to attach drawings on them, but I ended up putting the drawings on the wall beneath. I liked how the arches recurred in my drawings but had no purpose whatsoever in the setup. It was a purely aesthetic intervention. If you think something is beautiful, you should go for it. I used to think that ‘it should be right’. But what’s ‘right’ anyway?

I used to think that ‘it should be right’. But what’s ‘right’ anyway?

‘Hoe? Boer! – “Dada now, and later, Dada for always”’ runs until 5 Januari at Mu.ZEE.