in the Category: art

What I paint depends on how I feel at that moment

As an artist who paints and designs furniture, Edouard Devriendt is constantly navigating his position in relation to those two different mediums. We met up in his studio in Ghent, where he’s preparing for a fresh start. We drank coffee, ate bananas and talked about his previous exhibition, the |vormen| collective and the painting he made for our End-of-the-year campaign.

Interview by Eline Cremers
Photos shot by Lars Duchateau

What have you been up to lately? 

A year and a half ago I started to paint and, six months later, I got the idea of doing an exhibition [note: Edouard Devriendt toont] in memory of my father, who passed away four years ago. So I’ve been working on that all year, up until two weeks ago. Now I’ve been preparing my studio for a fresh start. This week I made three paintings, so I’m happy that my productivity is higher than before and that I’ll be able to experiment more - that’s also why I painted that pony.

Why a pony? 

When passing by a house, you often see children’s stickers on the windows, which I think is very beautiful. Here, the curtains turn the pony sticker into something like a bull with a pony body.

Windows are special barriers. They seem to show you what happens on the other side, but they also hide it

How did the exhibition make you feel? 

I was excited to show my work. I gave a preview to my family, and my grandparents, who are both over 90, also showed up. It was special to have them there. It has been very difficult for my grandmother since her oldest son passed away. I wanted to share this with her, but I could also feel that she was overwhelmed.
Now I feel free because it’s as if I was able to prove myself. That’s a powerful feeling. I haven’t experienced that often, especially not in this medium. The work I do when designing furniture is way more planned, while what I paint depends on how I feel at that moment. 

So you see both mediums as something separate? 

When I focus on furniture, I only focus on furniture. That’s also the case with painting. Eventually, the idea would be to bring the two together, but I don’t want to push it too much. 

 

Could you tell us a bit more about how you started your furniture makers collective, |vormen|? 

In my first year of architecture, I wanted to design a lamp. My father told me to ask my cousins Emile and Leon for help, and apparently, they were already toying with the idea of starting a design company.  

 

How does your collaboration work? 

We’re family and I think, as with any family business, it has its strengths and weaknesses.  But in the end, we enjoy making things together.

Does functionality play an important role in your designs?

Yes, it’s very important. Everything definitely needs to have a function. This is for example one of |vormen|’s designs. It has the function of a fruit bowl, but we still try to play with the design. First, we wanted to create a drapery like in old paintings, but that looked too kitsch. By creating these separate balls it suddenly became exciting. 

How can a vase disappear and just show you the flowers?

I really liked the ‘pedestals’ that you created for fruit, flowers, pots and pans, etc. How did you come up with this idea? 

It was a focus on smaller everyday objects. We asked ourselves: what do these objects need? How can we make an object that supports these objects without drawing attention to itself? How can a vase disappear and just show you the flowers?

The only place you could go to was the grocery store. So, that’s where I went and that’s how I started

Speaking of fruit and pans, a lot of your paintings seem to focus on everyday objects. Why? 

Because of COVID, I finally had all this time to look for something besides what I was already doing, but I wasn’t doing anything. Then I started painting. The only place you could go to was the grocery store. So, that’s where I went and that’s how I started. I looked for things that I thought were fun, but those objects were also often linked to a childhood memory like a ‘mariasnoepje’ [Maria candy]. After a while, I wanted to move further. The question for me now is, what does it mean for something to be beautiful? Why does it touch me? What does that say about me? But that search goes much deeper. I’m barely just starting to investigate that.

Could you tell us more about the work you’ve made for Subbacultcha? 

Everything in the exhibition was based on a facade or a sort of reflection. While I’m walking on the street or sitting on a train, I’m fascinated when I can sense another world behind a wall or window.  And windows are special barriers. They seem to show you what happens on the other side, but they also hide it. They only show you what the people living there are willing to show. A pony in this case. [smiles]

@edouarddevriendt
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