Memory, an exhibition of works by Caroline Van den Eynden (Antwerp, 1982–2022), presents a cross-section of the concise and precise works she made between 2015 and 2022. It provides a glimpse of her unfinished practice, through which childhood memories were turned into dreams and desires. Van den Eynden was not only a respected Antwerp-based artist, she was also an educator of tireless dedication. This exhibition is the result of a curatorial collaboration between some of her former students and Kunsthal Extra City. We chose to use her own words as an introduction.
'I was born and raised in Antwerp, Belgium. During my youth and study years, I went to the art academy, where I studied interior design and fine arts. After my studies, I had the urge to do something with everything I had done and all I had experienced. It was as if I wanted to embrace all my memories and permit myself to follow my dreams and desires.
'Those feelings are an inspiration to me and the driving force behind my work. They give me the urge to create spaces where I can fulfil my desires and question my experiences. The images and fragments derived from this, I reuse for my work.
'That’s why I combine mixed materials, forms and locations into architectural transformations, usually sculptures and installations. Neither the installations nor the sculptures are exact copies from reality, though that impression is sometimes given by my working with models and plans.
'Doors, stairs and the use of glass and steel in particular are important elements in my work. I refer to the fact that I grew up as a child in a modernist apartment building. Doors, staircases, and more generally (the suggestion of) passageways and level differences thus became a fixation of mine.
The thought of, or the longing for, a certain place at a certain time – past or future – is an especially significant step towards making these works."
‘We don’t think enough about staircases. Nothing was more beautiful in old houses than the staircases. Nothing is uglier, colder, more hostile, meaner, in today’s apartment buildings. We should learn to live more on staircases. But how?’ – Georges Perec, Espèces d'espaces (1974)
Artists: Caroline Van den Eynden