Yasser Ballemans, is engaged with the carnival as sculptural and cultural manifestation. He is interested in the relationship between the identity of the individual participant and the disappearing into the mob. Over several years and in very different contexts, he has worked to explore the potential of art in such big popular events, e.g. at the traditional carnival of the Dutch/ Caribbean island of Curacao in collaboration with local students and psychiatric patients. Or at a parade in Amsterdam, where the human body was used as an expanded sculptural field in a staged social context.
In the exhibition at JOEY RAMONE the parade is a series of ceramic figure-like structures, that occupy the space with a unique blend of temporality, as we know it well from assembled cardboard figures, but with the strong sense of permanence inherent in the fired ceramic material. Some of the sculptures are almost man-sized. They consist each of several cut-out, flat, geometric parts of clay stuck together by a seemingly simple ‘tongue-and-groove-joint’ principle. Paper cutting made in coarse stoneware, so to speak. A surprising universe of great and curious fragility that leaves you in doubt about which reality we are really in.
Yasser Ballemans’ works are physical manifestations of a highly negotiable reality. Is the sculpture more real than the model of the sculpture? Is the body, in its carnival-posture and temporary outfit, less real in its claiming a new identity and new roles that are different from our everyday habits? The parade – the next parade, the crowd of people, who together insist on an otherness of the moment, provides us with the opportunity to reconsider who we are and on which parameters we normally build our lives.
‘I would like to create something uplifting, temporary and fantastic’, Yasser Ballemans says, ‘ I get inspiration from the firework-theatre in the Hofvijver in the Hague, a building from 1749 by Dutch architect Pieter de Swarts. It’s a grand, majestic and useless building, created for something as volatile as a fireworks event. And from other similar old ceremonial buildings. Buildings as manifestations of the role of art in society.
Yasser Ballemans was educated at The School of Fine Art and Design St. Joost in Breda (BA) and for his MA he studied at The Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, graduating in 2007. He works with sculpture, installation and performance and has exhibited widely in galleries, museums and in public space in Europe and Asia. In 2010 he won the Grand Prize at the International Biennale of Contemporary Ceramics in Vallauris, France.
The works for the show at JOEY RAMONE have been made during a residency at the Danish Art Workshops in Copenhagen.
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