‘Baby Studio View’, 2017
Glazed ceramics, wood, acrylic paint, C-print, dirt
Photography: André du Michel
A dream can be defined as a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind. In this definition, the mind is the connecting space between the physical reality and the dreamscape. It informs both realms as a highway of form, content and presence. In Tom Volkaert’s new micro-project, produced in collaboration with Rod Barton for Dream Basel, the artist himself is this conduit. Volkaert, and by extension his practice, is positioned as this liminal pathway between the physical and the digital.
Inverting his practice, Volkaert flattens the physical space into a digital plane in which his ceramic sculptures cohabit themselves around his constructed recreation of his studio. The sculptures are the content, miniatures only in physical space, and convey Volkaert’s visual language of form, presence, texture into the non-space. Volkaert’s printmaking background comes to the fore in his drawing like sculptural practice. In much the same way that a picture book comes to life, the ceramic pieces maintain their authenticity in two dimensional space.
Amongst Volkaert’s studio maquette we explore his sculptures that flit between resembling alien life- forms, aboriginal symbolic idols and tableau-like functional objects. In the studio, the works can be all of these disparate aspects simultaneously. Chair legs become tentacles, symbolic motifs become functional apparatus and glaze becomes skin within the confines of the digital studio. The artist plays craftsman, deity and designer within his process and prepares to uplift the works to context that defines and obscures the works meaning itself.
This is not a process of manufacturing a fake. There is no intention to be duplicitous or to subvert the authentic works. Instead this is an exercise on a new kind of art presentation. Much like Dream Art Fair itself, Volkaert is asking buyers, viewers and observers to accept the digital space as wholly authentic.