Embedded Cities

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Paul Van Hoeydonck

1958

Sculpture, 11 x 11 x 4 cm.
Materials: plexi

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. S0377).

While inspiration drawn from childhood dreams would be determinative for both artists – imaginary voyages and the fantasy of reaching the moon and exploring other planets – Van Hoeydonck does not build flying objects as does Panamarenko. His best works do not even have to move.

Embedded Cities from 1958 is a transparent block where the color-planes seem to float. The work itself in no way moves, but it does elicit movement on the part of the viewer. It is simply irresistible not to circle around the sculpture and take it in from different angles, see different things. The art work remains unchanged, but its appearance does alter according the varying incidence of light and the perspective we approach it from. It exudes a mysterious atmosphere, it seems near-intangible. Van Hoeydonck strives to render the cosmos visual in a language that chimes with the human imagination, and he constantly also makes appeal to the imagination of those who view his works.

His preference for geometrical order and austerity lead him to evolve towards abstraction. But in Van Hoeydonck’s work – which he himself describes as a challenge to a deliberately narrative artist – this abstraction has a clear aim. The representation gives way to pure images, images of the imagination. In other words, Van Hoeydonck consciously lets things remain open for viewers to themselves fill-in. This concept is eminently present in Embedded Cities. We are all set the challenge to explore and expose this embedded city.

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