How has your experience as a resident been so far?
N: This is my first time being in Antwerp so I feel like I can enjoy both visiting the city and carving myself a little time capsule to go deeper into my work while still getting the chance to explore a new culture and benefit from it all.
C: It’s different for me because I studied in Antwerp so I already know the city, but it’s nice to come back. What I especially like is working in a new environment: I have my studio in Brussels, but here I can start from a blank table for a project that has a new beginning.
I want to broaden my possibilities
Can you tell us about what you are working on here at DIVA?
C: I started by researching the collection of the museum as well as the library collection, which has a lot of ancient catalogues of jewellery pieces, so I wanted to make things that are inspired by that. I want to broaden my possibilities by combining the assemblage method that I mainly use with collage. I wanted to do something site-specific here.
N: I have been working with salt as a material for quite a while now, with a focus on the cultural and material aspects that it entails. The idea of preservation was my starting point, but during the residency, I specifically went for a more in-depth try-out of salt shakers and salt cellars. I play with the idea of this object on the table, the idea of a container and what it means to use something and then break it or dissolve it.
How do you find inspiration and ideas for your work?
C: I am mainly inspired by jewellery pieces that I collect from flea markets which I use to make assemblages. For my work here I’m intrigued by the historical pieces of jewellery and I try to link or connect what I have of lower quality with these important pieces that have a more historical and material value.
N: I think for me it’s a play between the research and the material, where one informs the other. I feel like my position as a visitor from the outside and the city are also subtly influencing my work as it is a new environment for me.
The idea of belonging and the sense of what you want to preserve or let go of
Are there other recurring elements throughout your work outside the residency?
N: I think a recurring theme in my work is the idea of growth and decay. The idea of human life and material life. The idea of belonging and the sense of what you want to preserve or let go of.
C: Something recurring in my work - even though I am currently doing more two-dimensional work instead of jewellery and assemblage - is that I look for things that somehow belong or fit together. Therefore it’s often a long process of searching and puzzling.
Has your style evolved or changed throughout the residency?
C: I really wanted a break from my studio and to work with something new: paper. Instead of being inspired by the jewellery I find, I am more inspired by the pieces in the museum, and I shifted from assemblage to collage. I am also trying to combine two-dimensional and three-dimensional work, as well as wearable and unwearable pieces. I took the first month to gain a lot of inspiration and there is so much that I know I cannot finish. The nice thing about the residency is that the deadline gives you the drive to work every day. And still, the things I won’t finish will not run away.
N: I feel like I want to show old, festive dining culture through something much more demure. It is something I am still trying out and I’m not sure how it will unfold. At the end of the day, it feels a bit of a time capsule so I try to tell myself that nothing is final. My seed was planted and everything is a flow of influence.