Still some cream on the screen
M HKA, Antwerpen
19 February 2016 - 29 May 2016
Vaast Colson (b. 1977, Kapellen) doesn't shrink before the major question of the artist's place and role in society. Colson's work is shamelessly subjective and often has an absurdist bent. At the same time, he constantly examines art's relationship with the public and the validity of the mystique concerning the notion of 'the artist's life'. Oftentimes Colson also invites fellow artists to take part in jointly conceived actions or to produce collective works.
On the one hand Colson's work testifies to festive melancholia and childish fun, and on the other to an uncommon degree of drive and commitment, sometimes pushing the limits of endurance. For instance, waiting for hours and hours in a café for a squeezed-out clot of paint to dry on the tabletop, with all the while an exasperated camera crew waits for something to happen.
Exhibiting the studio
In Colson's own words: "I want to bring a part of my studio to the M HKA, something different to the usual way things are shown at an exhibition. I belong to the generation of artists for whom 'presentation' has become important, nearly a substitute for the work itself."
Colson's decision to transfer his studio to a museum has at least three significances. First, he wants to give the viewer the unique chance - thanks to the artist's presence - to participate right from the outset in the 'reactivation' of objects. A second layer is a critical inquiry into the institution wherein it all takes place, starting from the classical definition of a museum (acquisition, conservation, research, exhibition). A third aspect is related to the artist himself. Colson gets the rare opportunity (in a space outfitted like an office) to do things we'd sometimes all like to do with our accumulated ballast. The artist wants to see off all the projects he'd once planned, and so arrive at a tabula rasa of sorts. The process of exposing a studio and of documenting the objects, art works and archives found there, may probably not lead to answers but will certainly raise interesting questions.
Vaast Colson is a kind of collector. He collects whisky glasses, worn out mobiles and unusual sunglasses. His collection grows spontaneously, not so much from out of a collector's passion for the 'find’, but rather owing to the artist's search for forms and meanings that stimulate the creative process. Colson collects toys and crazy things that he's bought to remind him of something. "Sometimes they lie around here for years, but they have a certain undefined quality, like the pack of kid's drinks, that can be combined in a variety of ways (Build Yourself a Straw). This sat in my studio for quite a long time and suddenly I realized that the pack of little straws initiated a recent installation in The Hague. It's hard to explain how some things creep into one's subconscious." A panel with colorful thumbtacks hung for a long time in his studio, alongside boxes full of CD's, old cassettes and several guitars. "Like a future work," laughs Colson, "that analyses important snooker setups."
“I've always dreamed of making my library freely accessible to the public. It's part of a library's ethos to bring books to life." Vaast Colson's library on art and artists is arranged in proper alphabetical order. His plan is to make a listing of all these books. "I once wanted to do that with my CD's too, but never got around to finish. That's exactly what I want to do now in the museum."
At various intervals, Vaast Colson will 'activate' works at the exhibition. With Pop Pop Fizz Fizz, Colson attempts to fire paint-dipped champagne corks against drums affixed to the wall. Someone records the successful hits. The used bottles remain behind on a tripod. For Roy Sculpture, Colson transformed a secretaire of his grandparents into a Roy Orbison-jukebox. Everyone is invited to exchange a Roy Orbison record for a drawing by the artist. In this way, Colson hopes to eventually acquire a complete collection of the singer's recordings.
Based on a text by Radmila Iva Janković
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Het gevaar schuilt in zij...
Vaast Colson, Het gevaar schuilt in zijn voeten, 1999. Sculpture, wood, boxes, fabric, 185 x 120 x 20 cm.