- Arno van Roosmalen (voorzitter)
adviseur beeldende kunst,;
- Sara Bachour
- Maria Verstappen
Secretary: Edwin Jacobs, director and chair of the Gilbert de Bontridder Award.
Gilbert de Bontridder Award 2021:
Lizie Veldkamp and Jules Coumans
First of all, on behalf of the jury, I would like to extend congratulations to the graduates for attaining their diplomas. Not that the diploma itself will help your artistic talents much, but the knowledge and experience you have gained certainly will. The diploma is only a milestone on a journey that has only just begun. The awarding of the Gilbert de Bontridder Prize is also part of the ritual of this landmark moment. An artificial moment of comparing and selecting. That art is not a competition between rival egos is not lost on this group of graduates. Shared authorship, equality, sincerity and tempering the ego are views that are adhered to strongly within the group, and we can see this put into practice in the various kinds of collaborations between the graduates. We recognised a reluctance to express a personal message or narrative among the soloists, too. In all modesty, they opened themselves up to the accidental, the seemingly insignificant, the discarded and the casual. It is what it is. Are we seeing signs of a new generation with its own ideas of what art can mean? Tranquillity as an alternative to the ‘frenzy’ of this world, to the growth syndrome, to the transience and superficiality of digital communication.
The jury also saw this basic attitude reflected in the work of the winners it chose: Jules Coumans and Lizzie Veldkamp. The designated space for the exam presentation offered a perfect opportunity for the two artists to work together and for an integrated approach. Their shared interests and recognition of each other’s work was the starting point. ‘Connection is collaborative,’ Lizzie cites the spoken word performer and author, Kae Temp, in that great publication, The Hungry Don’t Play.
The room displays a large installation of sculptural components and spatial interventions that are coherent in terms of design vocabulary, colour palette and theme. It is incredibly clever how Lizzie and Jules manage the scale of space, and create a fascinating visual unity from their individual practices. The smallest interventions – or avoiding interventions – are well considered and based on careful observation and honest reflection. The consequences they draw from this transcend the importance of their respective artistic egos. By looking, playing and experimenting, the artists enter into a collaboration, not only with each other, but also with their surroundings, while engaging the audience at the same time.
The metaphor of a construction site adequately describes what they are aiming for: here, the past is still visible, but at the same time it is possible to envisage the future of the place. A construction site that has no end goal. Instead it is an intermediate phase: fertile soil, full of hope, that invites the viewer to imagine new opportunities. It is precisely this imagination that is essential for the emancipation of control over public spaces. And that is key, especially in a gentrified urban environment, which is usually determined top-down. It is a reflection of these artists’ ambition: to contribute to the spatial development of society through art.
Jules and Lizzie, my warmest congratulations on this well-deserved prize!
Arno van Roosmalen, Sara Bachour, Maria Verstappen
met dank aan
photo's by Paul Devens, Mitch van Schijndel & Jos Reinders / Karin Veldkamp