Femke Vandenbosch / entre les- plis

Robin Vermeersch: Entre les plis
The art of Robin Vermeersch leads you straight to the eye of the hurricane. The spot that stays still and cloudless while the world around it fragments violently. He captures the cutting noise of everyday life and kneads, carves, pours, draws, and models it until it becomes deafeningly silent. Relax, it's just chaos.
Vermeersch has a gift for tranquillity, but his works of art, like the first gods, are born out of Chaos. In Greek mythology, Chaos is represented as an infinite void where everything falls endlessly. Not downwards, because orientation is impossible there, but in all directions. From this vast, grinding disorder, order emerged. Ovid describes Chaos as a raw, unprocessed mass, a lifeless lump, untidy and maladjusted. This classic description touches upon Vermeersch’s starting point. The artist creates methodical series and graphic doodles with various materials but does not deny their genesis in the repetitiveness. The patterns are false, an illusion, developed out of shapes that proliferate and solidify until they freely rest in their own individual contours. With this intuitive working method, paintings, drawings, reliefs, and sculptures are made that modulate on themselves, or as a comprehensive artwork, in dialogue with the space and each other. From the tension of techniques, 2D and 3D, and materials such as wax, epoxy, polyester, paint and wood, organic landscapes grow, the layers of which build up like jazz music. Miles David knew that hitting a wrong note doesn't make it right or wrong until the next note. Form is the core from which soft pastels and subtle bright accents whisper or scream against hard, smooth, and bumpy textures. Colour, touch, direction of stroke, matt, gloss, and surface break through the patterns but never transcend the form. They fold around it like a skin. Staccato beaten cuts and legato filed curves illustrate time and the manufacturing process. The scars are not hidden, the edges are allowed to fray, the pink is permitted to get dirty. Vermeersch's order is uncanny and yet it flickers with recognition. Like the curtain that plays with the incoming sunlight, references to the world around us unfold between the folds. The titles of the works open an extra layer of false patterns and carry the same key to everyday life. Numbers and language, both French, English, and Dutch, are added seemingly at random but pierce through the form to the content. With a love for the seductive imagery of advertising and a play with scale related to Pop Art, Vermeersch translates small life into large themes. The potato that only releases its shape after digging up, the garlands of the party, intestines, mushrooms, the virus under the microscope, the tumour that continues to grow. Decay and putrefaction or fresh new life: the artist manages, with feeling and experiment, to capture his fascination for growth and evolution, in a razor-sharp and moving way and in its cyclical totality.
The hope and menace in the work sprout from the chaos that is the world around us. The sculptor Hans Arp described it during the World War as follows: “While guns rumbled in the distance, we sang, painted, made collages, and wrote poems with all our might. We were seeking an art based on fundamentals, to cure the madness of this age and to find a new order of things that would restore the balance between heaven and hell”[1].


Femke Vandenbosch

[1] The autobiographical pact: otherness and redemption in four French avant-garde artists. Book by Cosana Maria Eram, p.20, 2010