Belgium Irons Out the Creases



For an artist the road to the final form of a work of art is often crooked.

Parts of the installation above were used in another work of art in 2017, entitled ‘ Thinking about Reshaping the Canvas and the Way Paint Flows’. Its execution and form remained somewhat difficult and it was therefore pushed aside, although it was an interesting stage in the search for transformation in the subject area ‘Changing painting methods’.

The title ‘Thinking about Reshaping the Canvas and the Way Paint Flows’ is to be taken literally, and was an important starting point for future projects. An example of ‘a different change of form of a canvas’ is ‘Racer Malevich’, a project in which two-dimensional designs are transformed into a three-dimensional relief. ‘ The flowing of the paint’ can be linked to the works made with frozen paint in the subject area ‘Matter and deformation’.

Late 2021 the different parts were dug up again and used in the work entitled ‘Belgium Irons Out the Creases’. It was a reaction to a statement by Liesbeth Homans (N-VA). When she was sworn in as Minister in the Flemish Government, she referred to the Belgian flag as ‘that Belgian rag’.

The installation shows a rag-like piece of cloth with the Belgian tricolour, a combination we know so well from the floor-cloth with its black, yellow and red stripes woven into it. The stairs resemble a folded canvas. It has a clear structure. Different state reforms have structured and divided Belgium. The tricoloured rag has visibly dripped on the stairs. The paint ran down in a tray, where the colours were mixed and became a dark mess. On the ironing board we see a piece of cloth: a blank flag, maybe? The iron has ironed out the creases and has drawn new stripes, in three colours. It is as if a quarrel has been settled, with newly made compromises, a new start.

Everyone who is somehow connected to Belgium has an opinion about it: more, less or a different Belgium. The tricolour can unite or divide.