In anticipation of our upcoming three-man show, 'From Europe, With Love', PIERMARQ* interviewed Belgian artist Olivier Vrancken on his process, inspirations and what an Australian audience can expect from his work.
From Europe, With Love
Henrik Godsk, Jordy Kerwick & Olivier Vrancken
20 June - 6 July 2019
PIERMARQ*: Can you tell us about how you got into making art?
OLIVIER VRANCKEN: As far as I can remember I have always drawn and made things. At age 16 I started at the Art Academy, where I received a classical education following with a Master in graphic design and illustration. After many different jobs and a career as a graphic designer from which I no longer got satisfaction, I had a strong need to create work for myself and to develop that further. That's how I rolled in slowly.
P*: What are the core concerns of your practice?
OV: Being able to free up enough time to practice my art is my only concern. I have a family and I work full time.
P*: What have been your major artistic influences?
OV: I have a weakness for abstact, primitive and minimal art. Be it from old masters or contemporary artists. That is an important point in the development of my art. Of course that is not the only thing. There is so much interesting stuff that you discover as you go along, whether it be from the books, music, film or architecture, to name some. There might always be something appealing that lingers in some form.
P*: What exhibitions or artists have left a strong impression on you and your development as an artist?
OV: That would be a long list. But to mention a few. The “Elegy”series from Robert Motherwell is definately one that impressed me deeply, just the sheer size of of those works. Furthermore the work of Guston, Marca Relli, De Chirico, Le Corbusiers’ paintings, and some more contemporary painters such as Littlefield, Sterling Ruby, Otero, Brian Harte,...
P*: Can you talk us through the conceptual focus of your work for the upcoming exhibition at PIERMARQ*?
OV: There’s no real concept involved. It is more a continuation in the search for possibilities within my work. These works kind of originated simultaneously, they are interconnected at various stages.
P*: Can you expand upon the process in creating your works?
OV: My works evolve with no real pre-conceived idea. However, there will be a starting point, some form of input; an idea, a feeling, a colour or shape. It’s an intuitive process. This runs a fine line of success and creates an unpredictable tension between the conscious and subconscious that is only resolved at it's conclusion. If things don’t work, large parts of the work will be overpainted to create new vantage points from which the image can further unfold. The viewer only sees the end result, but the process and experience of repainting lost layers to build and rebuild the image contains the entire story of the piece.