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Duo expo with Jura Shust
At Gallery Plagiarama, Brussels
14.11.2015 - 31.12.2015

(Unlimited Edition, Black MDF (13x18), 2015)
A series of prints with images of Society Of Copy. The images are empty and flat. The tiles are equal and must be presented as a whole. They aren't photographs, rather they become interacting objects in space. The tiles avoid as much meaning as possible and become highly decorative.

(Edition, 9 rings with Belgian blue stone, made with Jura Shust for this exhibition)

(Unlimited Edition, 5 designs, 60x90, Dibond Print, 2015)

‘I want to make pretty things.’

In this series, I catalogue my own photographic images ( Society Of Copy) digitally to create a non-hierarchical flow. An accumulation of planes, the ‘composition’ arises naturally out of this process, without the application of any criteria or filters on my part. The motive behind this work is simply the desire to generate aesthetically stimulating images.

‘I want to make things that bear as little potential meaning as possible.’

My intention ‘to make something without meaning’ is impossible. To want to produce non-conceptual work is in itself a conceptual intention. And yet I seek out the possibility of creating a hollow work because this emptiness and meaninglessness speaks to me. Born of this intention, this Digital Collage brings together art, decoration and design in the art space.

‘Authenticity and sincerity have no value or meaning in postmodernity.’
(Susan Klinke, Teach Yourself Postmodernism)

I seek to make decorative work as a reaction to my reflex to work conceptually. In my view, there are two opposing forces in visual art: the conceptual and the decorative. The conceptual is honored in the visual arts, while the decorative is viewed with disdain. Furthermore, both oppose one another in terms of their use of materials. Conceptual art uses a minimum of materials, while decorative work exists purely in its material form. Conceptual art is meant to stimulate thought, which makes it by default a consumer product for the mind. Decorative art, on the other hand, is meant to be conceptually void, thus making it the ideal aesthetic consumer product for the masses.

‘Serving to make something look more attractive’
(Definition of ‘Ornament’, Oxford University Dictionary)

I use design to reconcile the conceptual discourse with the decorative. Design as the manifestation of technical perfection, mass production, economy and functionality. These four aspects represent the current focus of our desires.

‘The fashion of today is the cliché of tomorrow.’

Decoration is characterized by its lack of substance, its following of the current hypes and trends. This characteristic points to a paradox in contemporary art, which today, despite its conceptual ambitions, also deals in the currency of hype. As such, the decorative approach is the perfect method for taking a clean sample of the zeitgeist. The supposed meaninglessness of the decorative is thus disproved. It truly does have a function; decorative forms can serve as mirrors, artefacts and models of our time.

‘We don’t have anything to prove except that we’re enjoying life.’ Jura Shust

Having written this text, I have clearly failed in my intention to ‘make a work without meaning’. In the end, this statement is simply an excuse to make ‘(pretty) things’. This subversive reflex seems to be the common thread in my work. So forget what you’ve read and enjoy the pretty pictures. Thanks.

Matthias Yzebaert
(Translated by Jonathan Beaton)