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SECOND SKIN

22/04/2016 - 21/05/2016


"I am fascinated with the biological forms, the rhythm and the lines in nature and the space between them” - Sonja Vereecken

The most perfect forms, both in terms of beauty and in terms of organization and functioning, are created by nature. Mankind has been borrowing structures, the elements of construction and forms from nature for the long time already in order to address both its technological and aesthetic issues. Currently, technological civilisation continues to recapture additional territories from nature. Steel, glass and concrete realised in rectangular shapes dominate especially in the urban life, as natural forms and components are becoming increasingly rare and valuable. However, with each passing year human needs in a natural harmonious environment, filled with natural elements, is becoming more evident.

Biomorphic Abstraction as a type of abstract art, described as the use of rounded abstract forms based on those found in nature, also referred to as Organic Abstraction could be first observed in the work of many different artists, such as Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957), and artists of the Art Nouveau movement. At the same time it is applied to work by surrealists Jean Arp (1886-1966), Joan Miro (1893-1983) and Yves Tanguy (1900-55), as well as the British sculptors Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) and Henry Moore (1898-1986). The philosophy of Biomorphic Abstraction has its roots in Henri Bergson's (1859-1941) statements, who believed that evolutionary processes in nature and artistic creativity in art have much in common. 

Delicate, translucent, with warm shades in clear transparent minimalistic forms Sonja Vereecken’s sculptures are presented on the first solo exhibition "Second Skin” at NUNC Contemporary. Educated in model drawing and graphic arts at Academy of Visual Arts St Lucas, Kapellen, Sonja started to experiment with three dimensional forms made from natural substances like cotton, abaca, hemp and flax. As Sonja states “Developing and creating sculptures became my greatest passion several years ago. I always felt the need to add an additional dimension to my graphic work.” When creating her works Sonja brings the natural components to the level of organic fibre, which should be refined to a paste and “the possibilities become endless”. After mechanical beating  during several hours the material is processed with water and then gets different degrees of shrinkage. No additives are needed, forms becoming sensitive when wet and super strong when dry.  The result is to a certain extent unpredictable in details but nevertheless, the general shapes are always created according to the artist’s concept.

The exhibition SECOND SKIN presents several series. One cluster of works reminds us of the shells of non-existent primary structures, where life appears and which they throw off later on when moving to a new life stage. These remains give us the impression of a very fragile and delicate micro- and macroscopic depository or treasure house of the germ of life and its first stages of growth and development. Another cluster or works is created in the form of bas-reliefs, these are abstract protruding surfaces. These are semi-bulk forms, resembling the texture of dough. Here one can observe again the same organic forms, seeming soft and subtle, however full-bodied and fundamental. There are also sculptures comparable to stone blocks, cold and independent, some entering into dialogue, and other conflicting with each other and with the world.  
Whatever form Sonja Vereecken prefers for her sculptures, they all raise the questions of purity, fragility and naturalness. And the luminous and brittle materials they are made of just emphasize their secret knowledge and natural strength.

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