With the exhibition Ik zal je spiegel zijn (‘I’ll be your mirror’), Kunsthal Gent presents the first duo show of Eric Croes & Julien Meert in Gent. The artists create a shared universe full of magic, alchemy and fantasy, where autobiographical elements mingle with symbols belonging to a collective unconscious, to different cultures and periods in the history of representation.
The works in the exhibition are all new and made especially for the context of Kunsthal Gent, a process that slowly took shape over the past months and that invited both artists to respond to each other’s practice. While they work in distinctly different media - Croes in ceramics, Meert in painting and collage - with this new work they sometimes mirror each other’s codes, motifs and colours.
Four large ceramic sculptures by Eric Croes, inspired by medieval chess pieces, are positioned like guardians, watching over us, guarding the border between the real world and the spiritual world. A border that is also reflected in the title, ‘I’ll be your mirror’, a reference to dark fairytales.
With a series of self portraits, the notion of the mirror is also omnipresent in the work of Julien Meert. These mirrors refer to the inner struggle of inexorable loneliness and a place of depersonalisation. “Looking at yourself in a mirror is a way to slowly disintegrate” Julien says. A trigger for a mental feedback loop leading into an existential unease.
So at first sight, humor and colour seem omnipresent with both artists. But looking closer, we discover that this humor turns black quickly and that colour is just a thin artificial layer balancing on top of a series of complex and personal works, filled with references to dark medieval times, religion, cinema, art-history.
Eric Croes (1978) lives and works in Brussels. For several years he has developed his themes of choice through the medium of ceramics. Motivated by both his personal interests as well as his practice as such, Eric Croes, like many artists of his generation, utilises new tools and new production methods, transcending long-prevailing polarities: craft versus art, tradition versus modernity, art versus design, traditional tools and media versus technology. For Eric Croes, ‘making’ is a key concept that leads to a return to the workshop, the pleasure of craftwork and actual doing.
Julien Meert (1983) lives and works in Brussels, employing a great variety of mediums in his work. He tends to cancel the hierarchy between the existing separating the categories in the visual field: in a mixture of heterogeneous languages, he brings together the unbridled gesture of abstract expressionism with technical rigor of a detailed craftsmanship.
Both artists are represented by Sorry We're Closed, Brussels