TEXT



Birde Vanheerswynghels seems as much invested in the intricate two-dimensional space of her drawings as she is interested in the gestures, mental or physical, cultural or choreographic, that animate the space in front of the drawing, the space and the time of making it. The drawings are not illustration of this intense process of thinking, cross-referencing, erasing and adding, dancing and singing, but in their growing richness they capture more and more of the energy and of the kind of ‘life’ that happens at their edges. Each barely discernible layer and each almost-obscured intention becomes a replica, a mimesis perhaps, of the shifts and meanders that produce a particular state of mind and soul. 
(Mihnea Mircan)

Vanheerswynghels is known for her impressive large scale charcoal drawings of constructed and lush landscapes that stem from a mental archive of images. ‘The cat with nine lives’ refers to Vanheerswynghels’ first insight into how 3-dimensionality can be experienced as 2-dimensionality. As a child she saw a cat getting driven over by a car and got fascinated by the shape the animal transformed into. In her working process she recreates this transit from figuration to abstraction and back again by starting from photographs, mainly self made polaroids. As the foundation for her drawings, these polaroids act as fragments of a composition that becomes a new image. In the exhibition a series of these polaroids is presented, underlining the autonomous force of her photographic work.
Considering the process of drawing as an analysis of shapes, Vanheerswynghels often re-uses the same subjects, like trees, bushes, flowers, ponds, plants and birds. In her new series of drawings we see an enhanced adaption of techniques, creating a variety of patterns and contrasts. By using a combination of coloured pastel, charcoal and highlights made by erasing parts of the drawing, the work becomes rich of depth and details. Rendering her subjects enlarged and overly dimensional, the photographic space of the images becomes alienated and the spectator is tricked. The experience of what we see becomes physical. The presence of colour in the charcoal drawings finds its research in a series of large scale pigment prints. A blow-up of a polaroid is covered with layers of pigment creating an object that is in between drawing and photography. As with her charcoal drawings the viewer doesn’t immediately know what he is looking at. The image manifest itself slowly, creating the feeling of a lost or artificial memory.

At first glance, the work of Vanheerswynghels seems to be traditional. But nothing could be further from the truth. Vanheerswynghels does not draw, she dances and sings. The dance together with a sense of liberty form the basis of her drawings. The artist dances in her continuous quest for artistic evolution and development.
(Press Release The cat with nine lives)