Helena Sculpture

Vaastje

Vaast Colson

2006

Installation, 3 x (100 x 185 x 212 cm).
Materials: mixed media

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK7655).

The origin of the monumental work Helena Sculpture goes back to 2004. That year, Vaast Colson made a series of 12 portraits of the then 15 year-old daughter of German artist Martin Kippenberger, with the title Helena: The Paintings Martin Couldn’t Paint Anymore. Kippenberger, one of Colson’s most important artistic examples, had already died seven years previously. The series was a reference to Kippenberger’s own series Jaqueline: The Paintings Pablo Couldn’t Paint Anymore, which Kippenberger executed in 1996 as an homage to Pablo Picasso, whose wife was called Jaqueline. Colson’s series was an homage as well, but not only that: it was also an attempt to gain more insight into Kippenberger’s working method, technique and use of materials, in order to come closer to the legacy of an artist he so much admired. Since 2006 the series of portraits of Helena are preserved in Helena Sculpture. This work, which at first sight might look like a piece of minimalist furniture, indeed serves as a sort of safe for an artistic treasure, or as a reliquary shrine for an artistic pilgrimage. The case may be opened only once a year, on Helena’s birthday (August 24th), and imparts to this special series a near-mythological allure.

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