Marc Mestdagh (°Bruges/Belgium, 1966)
I believe that art does not necessarily provide answers, but it does raise questions. It is precisely that dialogue between the artist, the work and the viewer that can lead to a valuable connection and experience. A work of art can touch in different ways (recognition, memory, alienation, nostalgia, beauty, ugliness…). It offers the chance to look differently, to speak differently about things, leading to a broader view of life in general. Finally, we must trust that art can indeed change the world because it does change people for the better.
From an early stage (1982) I have been exploring many artistic techniques, mainly collage and assemblage. Later on these experiments led to technically more mature works. Some received prices or recommendations and were exhibited. See some of these works lower on this page.
A turning point has been the development of the series of Dialogues from 2010 onwards. Dialogues (2010-2020) was a large series of small art collages (+3500). They were meant to be a collection of ‘artefacts’ balancing between time and space, the past and the future, nature and culture. The material that is used was never meant to be unique; it is often blurry, fragmentary and abstract. The original works had a strict 9x9cm format but evolved slowly towards the international standard of an ID- or creditcard. The following series evolved towards either two pieces linked to each other as ‘dogtags’ or individual ID-cards, with a whole range of variations (2014-2017). The dialogue continued between two of those cards, some of them revealing both sides of the card (e.g. the Double sided dialogues in 2018). The 2019 “X”-series brings single Dialogues to a broader and secure environment but nevertheless in a polorazing balance.
From 2020 onwards a new series, ‘Community’, explores a more elaborate interaction between the ID’s. In the ‘Quarantaine’ project (2020) this is visible in the ‘mouth caps’, the coronaproof ‘bubbles’ and the big ‘labo’-setting. The 2022 series goes back to the essence, combining assemblage and collage (the ID-cards) in a very diverse environment but nevertheless small format (approx. 25×25 cm, 10×10 inches). There is tension on the elements (the ID-card, the connection via ropes/cables), the structure and the colors. The result of this expedition is a solo-exhibition of more than 150 works in October 2023.
There is a permanent exposition of my work in deWeverij in Sleidinge (nearby Ghent), a former weaving mill, renovated into my home, my studio and occasional ‘gallery’. More info at www.deweverij.be
Some pictures: Het vroege uur (1984), Goldberg Variationen, var. 21 (1993), Archeologie 17 (1995), De Wissel (1996), Nature Morte (1998), Dialoog nr. 1 (2010), Dialoog 14-18 (2014), Dialoog (2015), Dubbeldialoog (2018) [photocredits (c) bartvanleuven.com]