FORM 19 - 2024

Erris Huigens

Erris Huigens challenges conventional norms of perception. This project transcends a mere exhibition, unfolding in various phases that are both external and internal, revisiting different stages of a construction act. What is observed, in this documentation,  is a work in progress, where it remains uncertain if the finished form is what is depicted in the photographs, or if there is ever a final form as opposed to phases relative to the viewer's observation.

Photographing structures made of concrete, still in the midst of construction, Huigens,  is not creating "a situation" in the conventional sense of the term. Rather, he is highlighting and revisiting the unintentional works that have been created by architects and construction workers within an evolving construction site. By suspending a normal building construction process for several hours, the  intriguing part of the project lies in its subtlety.
The reinforced concrete structures, which seem to reference authors from minimalism like Serra, LeWitt, Carl Andre, etc., remain intact, unaltered, for a brief period before being reassembled into a new form functional to the dwellings they will soon constitute. However, the real momentary transformation they undergo is through the lens of the passer-by, who places them in an entirely new dimension, where they are recognized, recontextualized, and analyzed as central objects of the project.

Unlike a compact sculpture in a museum or a ready-made object in an art gallery, these artworks span vast surfaces, dominating cityscapes and drawing attention purely by their magnitude. They are a testament to the often ignored beauty of the mundane and the impermanence of human endeavors.
In this project, Huigens explores the theme of language, which serves as a conduit for transience within this context, effortlessly connecting documentation, sculpture and performance, this convergence culminates in a result that is both unique and indistinguishable.
The notion of language here is not merely a tool for communication but an integral component of the artistic process, blurring the lines between mediums and creating an experiential continuum. In doing so, it underscores the ephemeral nature of art itself, where the boundaries of expression are constantly redefined and reimagined, leading to a creative synthesis that defies traditional categorization.

The documentation and portrayal of paintings on blank canvases, along with a tangible sculpture, transcend materiality.
Whether created physically or manipulated by artificial intelligence, these works encapsulate the creative essences logically derived from photographs. They invite contemplation on the need for their physical presence versus the potential to exist solely through documentation, questioning their inherent reality. The project interweaves objects, surfaces, whiteness, concrete, materiality, ephemerality, and transience. Each exhibit by Huigens, inherently ephemeral, persists through its documentation. In this endeavor, he photographs, generates ideas, partakes in physical labor, constructs structures.

In dialogue with Erris Huigens:

Erris, you've underscored the inherent impermanence in your "Passer-by" project, focusing on structures under construction as a metaphor for transience. How does this concept influence your view of art's value and its ephemeral nature?

Art reflects the freedom to observe and react to reality, guided by our individual perceptions. I am drawn to impermanence, to places and structures in continuous change, moving between being and non-being. This fascination translates into my art, where documenting and translating these observations underscores the temporary nature of existence and the ephemeral cycle of construction, destruction, and reconstruction. Art, in this sense, serves as a visual testament to impermanence, highlighting how everything is temporary, including our brief existence on this planet. Through art, I seek to accentuate this perception, revealing the constant evolution and replacement characterizing both our physical environment and our temporal experience.

Your project incorporates language as a key element, bridging documentation, sculpture, and performance. How does language dissolve the boundaries between these mediums, and what impact does this have on the audience's experience?

Art transcends the conventional boundaries of language, extending beyond words to include images, documentation, and performance. In this project, the language of art acts as a bridge between different expressive mediums, demonstrating how each form of expression can be interpreted as a language. This fusion enriches the audience's experience, offering new perspectives and possibilities for interpretation. Art, thus conceived, becomes a language of freedom, enabling the creation and communication beyond the confines of functional language. Through the documentation and translation of real-world observations into artworks, I invite the audience to explore new expressive dimensions, emphasizing the importance of overcoming the restrictions imposed by conventional language.

In your exhibit, documentation emerges as a crucial component of the artwork. How does this aspect challenge traditional views of art and extend its boundaries beyond physical and temporal limits?

Documentation, in the form of photography, images of paintings, and sculptures, becomes an artwork in itself, questioning the nature and boundaries of art. This perspective initiates a dialogue on the value and perception of art, highlighting how documentary representations can transcend spatial and temporal limits, ensuring the artistic creation a life beyond the ephemeral. Art becomes a continuum of ideas and creative energy, freed from physical, financial, and practical constraints that often hold back artistic expression. Through documentation, I seek to leave a lasting mark, emphasizing that the essence of being an artist lies not only in tangible works but also in the ability to explore and utilize every available means to communicate concepts, emotions, and visions, thus overcoming the traditional barriers of art.

The selection of reinforced concrete structures, still in progress, resonates with minimalist influences like Serra and LeWitt. Can you discuss the importance of reinforced concrete and the construction setting in your artwork, particularly in relation to themes of ephemerality and materiality?

The irony lies in the function and perception of materials. Unlike the inherently non-functional art of Richard Serra or Sol LeWitt, the structures I document are destined for practical use within architectural designs. Yet, by capturing and conceptually transforming these moments and materials, they transcend their intended function, entering the realm of art. This process not only references historical dialogues within art but also projects forward, creating new connections. The temporary nature of these construction sites, viewed through a minimalist lens, reveals a raw, honest aesthetic in concrete and building materials. By abstracting these images within a gallery context, they are reimagined as minimalistic artworks, transforming something seemingly dull into an experience that challenges our perception of space and materiality.

Your work, sprawling across urban environments, prompts contemplation of everyday beauty and the fleeting nature of human endeavors. How does urban space influence your creative process, and what reactions do you aim to evoke in viewers?

Urban environments serve as my primary source of inspiration, embodying a dynamic interplay between culture and nature, control and chaos. This project is an extension of my routine practice, where I capture and reinterpret the essence of urban life. It's about showcasing the struggle between human attempts to dominate nature and nature's toughness in reclaiming space. My goal is to draw attention to this ongoing conflict, encouraging viewers to reflect on the temporary and often overlooked aspects of urban existence, thereby stimulating a deeper appreciation for the beauty and complexity of our surroundings.

You've mentioned employing artificial intelligence to logically alter works based on photographs. How do you envision the role of AI in art, and what new possibilities might it unlock for creative expression?

Artificial intelligence acts as a catalyst for creative expansion, offering a new layer of interpretative freedom by temporarily giving away some control. This collaborative process with AI can introduce unforeseen perspectives and insights, enriching the artistic process. Embracing AI is about using the tools of our era, reminiscent of past technological milestones. While caution regarding control is called for, it's essential to remain open to innovation. AI's integration signifies a continuation of art's evolutionary journey, emphasizing the temporary and adaptable nature of creativity and control within the human experience.

Your artwork seems to interrogate the necessity of art's physical presence versus its potential for purely documentary existence. How has this consideration shaped your practice, and what questions do you wish to provoke about art's core reality?

The debate over art's tangibility reflects a broader discourse on reality and validation. My practice consists of both physical creation and digital documentation, challenging the conventional constraints imposed by the art establishment. This dual approach aims to liberate artistic expression, enabling a more inclusive exploration of what art can be beyond traditional venues and formats. By embracing both physical and digital realms, I encourage a reevaluation of art's essence and its interaction with technology. This stance strives for a for a more open, adaptive art world, capable of embracing innovation while pushing for creative freedom and collaboration across mediums.