a conversasion with

jonas vanderbeke

AFFDP :Since when you have your studio here at NUCLEO?

J: let me think, it’s the third year. I studied at KASK in the painting departement. I used to have only a little space here, one window, and now that I have more space I can archive my works there, and even put something away, it’s too much sometimes that...

///having a tour

J: Those painting are from a serie, I first made that one, then the big one. I had so much fun making them that I want to expand the serie, but it’s taking a lot of time and maybe it’s not fun anymore.

AFFDP: Do you usually sketch on the computer or on paper?

J: I search for my images on the computer, and like for those I made screenshots from the movie “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover” by Peter Greenaway. The movie it’s totally baroque with a lot of curtains and plants and the story it’s so overwhelming that I thought I should take some screenshots from it. Anyway it’s not necessary that you know that to understand the paintings, it’s more for the process. I want to repeat that process again with another Peter Greenaway’s movie, they are aesthetically good, a lot of attention on the environment, on the costumes.

AFFDP: It looks like you create a scenario into the painting, with the curtains, doors, layers.

J: You know the beginning of the Looney Tunes, that circle at the intro, it’s always unexpected and it makes you want to see a new good episode of that, that’s a little bit what I want to do with the curtains. If you go to theatre you see the curtains and you also expect something from the play. The curtains open and it’s allow or dissapointment, I want to do that with images. There’s something more, is it important? Is it not important? It’s up to you.

AFFDP: Are the images that you look for from the internet, from films or also maybe from magazines?

J: In “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover” there are a lot of plants, I searched those plants and used them for the paintings, the silouhettes as well are from the movie. Those works were the first where I used something so specific from one thing. I also search images from the internet or on magazines. Most of the time I search fashion images where the male body is capitalized, “do pretty”, where’s it’s no more about the clothes. You think where’s the fashion. It’s not a critique, but it’s something that I like to use, and maybe it can become a critique but still sometimes it becomes very abstract, dont’t has to be a focus on the body, just close ups. When I started with the magazines it was just Vogue or casual fashion magazines, but there the photographs are not bad but also not good, the paper as well has low quality. Then I searched for good magazines, like DUST, it comes out twice or three times a year, I like the images and the paper, it’s heavy and not shiny. It’s not an easy aesthetic to work with, but anyway it doesn’t have to be easy. I’m interested in fashion mostly for the images. During my bachelor I studied also textile in a class, and found the love for the material.

AFFDP: Was it the first time you’ve been working with images from movies as a reference?

J:Yes, that was the first time. When I saw the movie I just thought it was a good one, then the second time I thought I should do something with it.

AFFDP: What about the plants, that sometimes looks fake but sometimes real?

J: I read a book that it’s like the bible of the decadentism, there’s a chapter where the author writes about a plant collection, he collects only plants that are real but look fake. I think that’s my thing with the plants, searching for a real fake plant. That one (pointing a plant over there) it’s a nice plant because when I come here in the morning it’s close, and then in the evening it opens up, and then I think okay I can go home now.

AFFDP: Do you usually work with series? And what it’s the point that makes you feel that a serie is over?

J: Yes, but my series are not that big, most of the time three or four pieces, it’s not that I’m done with it, but I’m thinking on new ideas at the same time, my series are fluid because I made some collages and some drawings and sometimes it’s hard to make a choise, but I have to do it, that’s why the series are small. Except this one that is pretty big for me, most of the time when I make three pieces it’s “okay next one”.

AFFDP: Do you also work with sculpture or installation?

J: The installation I like the most is the little paravento, but at the same time it’s just a painting in the space, so I’m thinking about bringing my work in the space itself, not only on the wall, but it’s just the beginning. I made it two or three months ago, and I think it can grow but still don’t know how. That’s a prototype, it’s small because if you make a real one, it becomes more an object, and less sculpture. Like this is a bit useless, because if you stand behind it I can see you.

AFFDP: Do you usually work alone or have you done collaborations? Like here at NUCLEO

J: Always alone, it’s not that I dont’ want to have collaborations but it never happened. Here we just talk and that’s all, talking about the work is also part of the work.

AFFDP: Do you have any referencial artists or someone that really inspires you?

J: I like a lot the work of David Salle and it’s stupid to say but I like the supersilly titles of Lana Del Rey’s music . Silly and sometimes too obvious, I like to give my work a title that is too obvious. That is “Secret Garden”, because it’s about the layers and putting something behind, there are a lot of secrets. It’s a bit stupid at the same time but I like it.

AFFDP: Furthermore lana del rey’s music relates to time passing by and sadness, aesthetic without quality music.

AFFDP: Do you usually work with this comic-book shape? (looking at some collages)

J: I only used it once, in those collages and in one painting. I liked it a lot because you have the hardness of the shape, that contrasts with the background and with the image itself, it’s boundfree, if you put the pins off you have single sheets. It’s about the coincidence sometimes, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. I like when it doesn’t work, there’s something missing, and nothing to do about it

AFFDP: What do you think about the artistic scene here in Ghent?

J: It’s difficult here in Ghent, you have little groups and it’s hard to get in, for now I’m a little bit outside, but still I want to show my work here.

AFFDP: Do you see yourself here in the future or maybe in Brussels or somewhere else?

J: I like the city of Ghent, and I think I’m gonna stay here. Brussels is too big, messy.

AFFDP: Have you studied both the bachelor and the master at KASK?

J:Yes, I liked it a lot. My mentor at the master was Narcisse Turdoir, I learnt a lot from him, but now there’s a lot of changing there, changing goes up and down so who knows.

AFFDP: Do you work here all the days?

J: No because I also teach to children, the other days I’m here, it’s a nice combination.

AFFDP: With what kind of medium do you usually paint?

J: Oil and acrylic mostly, occasionally enamel. For that painting I also used a spray. That was about the original mythology of Narcissus. At the end he looks at himself and he hurt himself, in the face and on the body, it isn’t written literally but you can imagine that he becomes more in love with himself when he destroys himself. I wanted to destroy my narciss flower, in an aesthetic way. I did that thing of destroying, an unexpected thing, on the fake plants. I wanted to bring back the painting structure itself, because I missed it a little bit. You see that it’s about a painting and about the paint itself. It’s also something that will be developped in something else, and comes out from the spray paint.

AFFDP: What about the painting “JOE, CHRIS, VALENTINA”?

J: It’s about Narcissus, I was searching for images. There I used more than one medium, charcoal on canvas, pencil, ink. The sketch was digital, it’s interesting thinking about how I will paint it and how to bring it to the public, here the materials comes to be very important. Otherwise you could say why don’t you print it? I like mistakes, it becomes more human. Like when the paint comes underneath the tape, I curse it and admire it at the same time. I dont’ fix it, it’s what happened. That serie instead was a respond to the drag queen serie, because there I didn’t use any flower.