An orderly chaos
Louis Darcel, Hannah De Corte and João Freitas bring their different worlds together for their common passion of embracing the forces of nature on canvas. Muesli Collective works with hypersensitive materials that react to their environment. Together, we visited Pilar’s Out of Order exhibition (as part of PILAR ASAP: ORDER TO DISORDER EDITION) to see their work and to discuss the beauty of allowing nature to do its thing.
How did Muesli Collective come about?
At the end of our Master's at La Cambre, we started working in hospital corridors making murals between 2013-2014, and it was sort of a small installation. Some patients were there for months and we wanted to offer something that wasn’t monotone which would evolve and improve the environment. We started working with light and gold leaf, and that was the beginning of our research into the sensitive matter. By 2014, Muesli Collective was created. It was a challenge to work against the outside resistance towards us, but also to figure out what we really wanted to do. To this day, we still try not just to work against something, but more importantly to create what we want.
We accept everything that happens on the canvas
How can you tell when work is ready for presentation?
Our work keeps painting itself. We do not make an aesthetic choice, we accept everything that happens on the canvas. The colour that you see is not our choice - it is the property of the product that chooses it, which is always a mystery. We each have our individual practice, but as a collective, our strength is that it’s less important for us to choose a clear aesthetic, so it is easier to accept the transformation of such materials. With our previous Oasis installation, there was a beginning and an end. But from that point on, we wanted to use this phenomenon of humidity and translate it into painting so that it keeps renewing itself, as something that will never stop evolving.
Can you tell us about the type of material you use?
The humidity indicator in the laboratory enables you to know if there is water present in a solution. If there is, the indicator turns pink, and if there isn’t, it stays blue. There are other materials that are also important, like the fabric that we work on; sometimes it is silk or cotton, and it will change everything. The chemical interaction is very important.
How do you feel about the group exhibition at Pilar and the placement of the works?
We are very happy about the placement of the works. You can also see it from the outside of the building of Pilar because the building has this glass corner, so we like that you can see it from different points of view. During the day, light is very important for the way our paintings change. We also like the other artists and the ceramic and textile work; it was a good occasion for us to discover other works. It is a great collection, so we are very happy to be part of it.
We present something in our work that shows some sort of invisible force or element
Do you have any artistic influences in your work?
We have many. We really like Céleste Boursier Mougenot, who works a lot with elements from the environment. It’s fascinating how these elements of nature touch the objects of his work. Nina Canell, who let a sculpture slowly melt during an exhibition: you think you see a sculpture but in fact, you are seeing a process of movement. It’s quite important that we present something in our work that shows some sort of invisible force or element. So for this exhibition, it’s humidity, but for others, it can be light.
How do you find order and chaos related in your work?
Some of us tend to be more chaotic, others more orderly, but we find a balance between that. In our work, we also have protocols, once we let go of them, it can seem chaotic. In a way, this chaos is orderly. However, we do not understand that order. Apart from the fabric, frame and indicator, it’s based on so much that we cannot grasp, as almost everything you see wasn't a decision made by us. We like this idea of the order of nature. You can understand everything under the microscope, but we don’t want to do either. That is the beauty of it.
It is chaotic but it is also the order of nature