Dirk Vander Eecken creates abstract paintings with the aid of grids. These function as a sort of ‘templates’, in the sense that they steer the acrylics on the canvas, but they also create a distance between the painter and the canvas. Indeed, as the artist uses spray paint, there is no contact between him and his work.
In 2008, Vander Eecken was the first in Flanders to obtain a PhD in the arts at the University of Antwerp. He worked together with nano-scientists of the EMAT group, who use electron microscopes to study materials, linking images of their research to his own praxis. Zoomed, gridded images are always important in Vander Eecken’s oeuvre.
The title of this new exhibition, Dislocations, affords fundamental insights in Vander Eecken’s praxis, and not just with regard to his recent works. In first instance, the term dislocation refers to dis-locating something, i.e. removing it from its logical or evident place. However, the term has also a scientific meaning. Professor Staf Van Tendeloo, Vander Eecken’s PhD tutor: ‘A dislocation is a material defect that is responsible for the strength (or frailty) of materials. Around the dislocation, there’s an area of tension because near it, the atoms deviate from their normal position.’
The coincidences and imperfections Vander Eecken allows to enter his work—which are often the result of the physical distance between the work and its maker—are like dislocations. Precisely these details result in a certain tension, an irregularity, a question mark. The grid structure is certainly not a strict pattern. Here and there, stains, drips, disturbances sneak into the works. It’s these elements that disrupt the surface of the canvas, catching our attention and forcing us to keep looking.
Artists: Dirk Vander Eecken