Gilles Hellemans

resident Bosacademie

Gilles Hellemans is a visual artist who will work in Het Bos as a resident between the 4th and the 17th of July. He will show new work during Vruchtbare Grond in october!

We asked Gilles some questions:

Where do you find inspiration?

Site-specific observations and walks have been a cornerstone of my creative process. I enjoy exploring a space or object slowly and thoroughly, allowing me to uncover hidden nuances that others might overlook. For example, a collection of dated blue office chairs could inspire me to create an installation that challenges traditional perceptions of these objects. I use various art forms, including installations, paintings, videos, performances, publications, and pedagogy to playfully and critically explore the disparity between personal visual attraction to these spaces and objects and the detachment they imply and enforce.

Tell us about your favorite medium?

I enjoy using DIY architectural models, costumes, and appropriated elements to create a dialogue between my work and the spaces it occupies, engaging with my audience in different ways. These elements come through my personal fascination or desire with the spaces and objects that I encounter and explore, and ultimately become tools that allow me to highlight and amplify the disjuncture between the viewer's attraction to a space and the alienation it can enforce.

How can your work affect societal issues?

I approach humor and ridicule as tools to engage with viewers on societal issues in a playful and meaningful way. Through my use of appropriated elements with the help of DIY architectural models, costumes, and other structural elements or objects, I aim to comment on the rift between personal visual attraction to spaces and objects and the alienation they imply and enforce. By challenging dominant narratives and amplifying underrepresented voices, I hope my work inspires viewers to think critically about the disjuncture between attraction and alienation in the spaces and objects we encounter daily.

Where are you from and how does that affect your work?

As a gay man growing up in a small village, my personal experiences of identity, displacement, and marginalization have influenced and inspired my artistic vision. These experiences have given me a certain perspective on my surroundings and prompted me to use my art as a platform to challenge dominant narratives and amplify underrepresented voices. Through descriptive language and metaphors, my work invites viewers to engage with societal issues on a personal and emotional level, and encourages them to question their assumptions and explore new perspectives.