“The Architecture of Time” by Nel Verbeke reflects on humans as finite beings


The concept of time and its variety of manifestations continued to receive new meaning in the history of human civilization. The last two years of confinement and isolation have further increased the need to reorient our way of life. Given the immense interest shared by creative minds around the concept of time for centuries now, it has caught the attention of today’s artist to delve deeper into the subject. Belgian conceptual designer Nel Verbeke, with her exhibition The architecture of time does not preclude maintaining discussions around the themes of time and architecture.




The architecture of time – The Rasp – Large (On box), 2021, Copper, steel, burnt wood Image: Courtesy of Nel Verbeke and Artcetera


The art exhibition in the unique setting of Artecetera – a former shipyard on the Durme, west of Antwerp and home to the lachaert dhanis studio – underlines the artist’s interest in representing the “potential emotional design”. The object-sculpture in his hands, not limited to the apprehension of its form and function, is largely inspired by research carried out to decipher the past and the future while keeping a close eye on current events. . What we see is the result of these conceptual investigations made by the artist to let the public reflect on their existence and what surrounds them.



The Architecture of Time - La Râpe - Petit, 2021, Copper, steel, burnt wood |  Nel Verbeke |  STIRworld
The architecture of time – The Rasp – Small, 2021, Copper, steel, burnt wood Image: Courtesy of Nel Verbeke and Artcetera


Interestingly, the artist’s sculptures bear a cyclic form that remains short of full closure on either side of them. In an interview with STIR, Verbeke, who studied conceptual design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, after training in fine arts at the Luca School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium, elaborates on this translation of the conceptual thought of architecture and time to visual representation. in the form of sculptures. ” The notion of The architecture of time results in concepts and materializations that suggest that a moment in itself deserves its own architecture: to shelter us in our momentary presence and thus detach us from what awaits us, from the constraining rhythms by which we usually live our lives. The forms of the sculptures carry a fascination with the idea of ​​”niches”, architectural cavities in the walls which are more symbolic than functional and are historically and interculturally linked to the withdrawal from pragmatic existence or the veneration of what transcends us in as earthly beings. All the works reinterpret this idea; like autonomous alcoves that articulate the interplay of light and shadow or make it the result of a dedicated gesture. Sometimes they are able to enclose a human body as a scale model, other times they appear as micro-architectural manifestations and are primarily retreats for the gaze and the mind,” she says.



Installation view, The Architecture of Time |  Nel Verbeke |  STIRworld
installation view, The architecture of time Image: Courtesy of Nel Verbeke and Artcetera


The works designed could be described as both “thoughtful and delicate” proto-instruments: at least visually, a walk through the passage of time. Against the popular address to the “emotional ambivalence” of existence, that is to say of resistance, the objects open up a means of contemplating and introspecting the functioning of humanity.



The Architecture of Time - In Praise of Shadows - Model, 2021, Faux Marble - Stoneware by Pierre Yves Morel |  STIRworld
The architecture of time – Praise of shadows – Model, 2021, Faux Marble – Stoneware by Pierre Yves Morel Image: Courtesy of Nel Verbeke and Artcetera


His choice of materials also refers to the notion of time. To explain this, the concept artist says, “The collection is defined by two dominant materials that were chosen in the concept phase as they serve as materialized thoughts: raw hand-brushed copper and ground/earth. Tradition, delicate craftsmanship and a link with nature and the seasons. Copper refers to ancient traditions and ancient artifacts that tell the passage of time in the traces on its surface. Or the dug ground of a specific place, stratified through history and marked by the seasons; the soft grinding of metal into plaster and the settling of dust. Materials and processes showing how time tends towards tomorrow but is made up of yesterday and has more to do with the graceful decay of a flower than with the span of an hour.



Installation view, The Architecture of Time |  Nel Verbeke |  STIRworld
installation view, The architecture of time Image: Courtesy of Nel Verbeke and Artcetera




Portrait of Nel Verbeke |  STIRworld
Portrait of Nel Verbeke Image: Courtesy of Club Paradis


Verbeke hopes the works will give viewers time to fully experience and explore the ideas she strives to explore: to realize that time and our lives take on meaning through the way it flows. slowly. With the form of the works that profuse the singularity of time and the built environment, the artist states with confidence: “The sculptures reflect on finitude and decadence, so that we can accept them, enrich our lives with them, in order to that we can live for a moment as if it were a space in itself.



The architecture of time - The sound of time - Voilé, 2021, Resin |  STIRworld
The Architecture of Time – The Sound of Time – Veiled, 2021, Resin Image: Courtesy of Nel Verbeke and Artcetera





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Behind the scenes video of the works exhibited in Tokyo now at the Object d'art gallery by Nel Verbeke |  STIRworld

Behind the scenes video of the works exhibited in Tokyo now at the Object d’art gallery by Nel Verbeke Video: Courtesy of Club Paradis


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