Brick Bench II
unique work (2021) - 123x24xH40cm - Waxed concrete
Brick Bench is a functional sculpture, made by casted concreet in a brick stone mold, which can be used as a side table, bench or just as it is. These molds have to be demolished to release the cast. Each work has its own bricked mold, giving its unique structure, pattern and / or color shade.
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This work was part of the solo exhibition PRAGMATIC SCULPTURES at Atelier Ecru Gallery in the summer of 2021.
In arranging his works for ‘Pragmatic Sculptures’ at Atelier Ecru in Ghent, Bram Vanderbeke shares a vision of an anachronistic city landscape. Featuring both shimmering and dark high-rise volumes, combined with denser, stacked bodies – alluding as much to today as to the excavation of future ruins and the reconstruction of forgone foundations. A dynamic yet substantial composition that presented itself as if by coincidence, emerging spontaneously, as the works organised and reorgan- ised themselves in his atelier, claiming their place during the vital labour of his process. It therefore represents his practice thoroughly, relating the variety of shapes and sizes to the consistency of his idiom. Wherein the slender, sculptural beams, labelled as ‘Inside/Outside Columns’, interact mate- rially with the more recent ‘Alucasts’, which in turn approach the signature ‘Brick Benches’, ‘Stools’ and ‘Side Tables’. A coherence that suggests that Bram Vanderbeke aims for an oeuvre but is rather the outcome of a forthright and authentic vigour, whereby the desire to create and the impetus of the production flow, set the tone.
Bram Vanderbeke’s drive and determination become even more evident when one moves between the works and explores the landscape up close. How they are contained in the oftenbrutish textures and the bold massiveness, in the honest rhythms of the moulded bricks and the echoes of a grinding wheel. They even provide an explanation for the title of his show: ‘Pragmatic Sculptures’. For although the works each have their own function, that function only rarely precedes the work. More often, the pragmatic nature of the designs is a consequence of how the sculptural and archi- tectural solids ultimately manifest themselves, their usability as such a fluid fact emerging from hindsight and interpretation. Even in the ‘Layered’ series, which appear neat and well-consid- ered and in which the accumulation and layout of the coated plywood components are carefully sketched in advance, it is first and foremost the shape that appears.
Which also leads us to the context in which this exhibition takes place, even to the position Bram Vanderbeke occupies within the contemporary design field. A borderland between arts and design where the autonomy of the artistic expression does not shun but is neither limited by its usability.
(text: Jonas Lescrauwaet)