Gijs Van Vaerenbergh's visual art "Labyrinth" appears in Issue No. 61: Beginnings and Endings.
GIJS VAN VAERENBERGH
In 2015, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh realized an experimental labyrinth to mark the tenth birthday of the C-mine Arts Centre in Genk, Belgium. The sculptural installation Labyrinth originated from Gijs Van Vaerenbergh’s interest in fundamental architectural typologies; earlier installations were based on the city gate, bridge, wall, and dome. Gijs Van Vaerenbergh views the age-old form of the labyrinth as architecture in its essential form: a composition of walls that define spaces.
The installation measures 37.5 by 37.5 meters and consists of 1 kilometer of walls made out of steel plates that are 5 meters high. Out of this structure, large elementary shapes are cut—a sphere, a cylinder, a cone—to break down the logic of the labyrinth and create new spaces and unexpected perspectives. These Boolean transformations convert the walk through the labyrinth into a sequence of spatial and sculptural experiences.
Labyrinth not only generates a variety of spaces and visual perspectives; it also interacts with the context of C-mine in a different way. Ascending the old mine shafts, one can witness the structure from above and look down upon the wandering visitors—a point of view that is generally reserved for the creator of a labyrinth.
Combining these elements, the installation is illustrative to Gijs Van Vaerenbergh’s practice: the duo incorporates tensions between part and whole, form and transparency, recognition and estrangement, design and result, drawing and execution. The goal is to create a layered work that is open to different meanings and experiences.
Gijs Van Vaerenbergh is the longstanding collaboration between Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh. They have been designing spatial and sculptural interventions for the public space since 2007. Their site-specific work lies at the intersection of visual art and architecture, combining a conceptual approach with a monumental visual language. Drawing on locality and history, their ingenious interweaving of reference, reinterpretation, and transformation creates a multi-layered reading of the location that plays with the expectations of the spectator. www.gijsvanvaerenbergh.com
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