Vanheerswynghels (°1986) is known for her impressive large scale charcoal drawings of constructed and lush landscapes that stem from a mental archive of images. 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.
Considering the process of drawing as an analysis of certain shapes, Vanheerswynghels often re-uses the same subjects, like trees, bushes, flowers, ponds, plants and birds.
In her 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 in which black is not just black.
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.

Birde Vanheerswynghels lives & works in Brussels. She completed a two year post academic residency program at HISK, Higher Institute for Fine arts in Ghent, Belgiumt. In 2015 she was the winner of the Baker Tilly Roelfs Prize, Düsseldorf (DE) for her work in the group show ‘Terra Incognita’, KIT, Düsseldorf (DE). She made several residencies in Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (GR), Kunstprojektraum Tapir, Berlin (DE), Boiling Point PRESS Berlin (DE) and Takt kunstprojektraum, Berlin (DE). She had group exhibitions in amongst others Drawing Center Diepenheim, Diepenhein (NL), Croxhapox, Ghent (BE), Galerie Martin Kudlek, Köln (DE), Komplot, Brussels (BE).

The motifs employed by Birde Vanheerswynghels draw on artificialy arranged flora and fauna. The aesthetic is on the whole to be classified between botanical garden and expedition documentation. Such substitute landscapes in the form of glass greenhouse palaces were built in the 19th century and are still very present today in the former colonial power of Belgium, where Birde Vanheerswynghels lives. Compressed to a small area, the visitor to such a greenhouse experiences the peculiraties of exotic vegetation. Her oversized floral scenarios are characterised by a strong dynamism in the two-dimensional space. Starting from photograpghs, primarily her own Polaroid pictures, she draws oversized floral scenarios. Her works demonstrate the fine line between drawing and photography. If one decodes the individual layers of the works, she firstly draws a geometrical construct with minimal means on which she applies layer after of charcoal. Regardless of how small, each drawing becomes hyperreal in this way. The time consuming and meticulous attention to detail results in an extraordinary pictorial reality that is seemingly overgrown by exotic plants et every point in the complex structure. In a further group of works encompassing pigment tinged inkjet prints she takes up this kind of further development of the trompe l’oeil motif insofar as she defamiliarises the photographic space of the actual ilustration, thus deceiving the viewer. With the extensive application of passtels this manipulation becomes an illusion of movement. The result is the suggestion of a tentative illusionistic motion in her photographs as well as her drawings.