Six questions for
Evelien Gysen

Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Evelien Gysen.

Artist Evelien Gysen
Lives in Kalmthout (Heide), Belgium

How do you describe your own art practice?

In my studio, I use and edit lens-based images I have made over the years and collected in a kind of photographic sketchbook. In there you will find landscapes, forests, caves, mountains, a possible entity or pareidolia. Images that show a staging or a strange reality, often with a dark side. I reflect on imaginary places where reality and illusion meet which results in artistic experiments and outcomes. A deliberately pursued blur and the tactile essence of low resolution bestow open meanings to our perceptions. They offer a universe to myth, UFO, enigmatic beings and other. For me, it’s a playful interaction where both astonishment, alienation, and timelessness, as well as humor are interwoven. Possibly with a cinematic character or narrative.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

The incredible greatness of nature.

Also, how we, as humans represent our environment in sometimes very strange two- and three-dimensional images and objects. Since the beginning of my artistic career, I had a kind of love for noise, fuzziness, and pixel as you used to see on cheap photocopies or the first generation of home printers or digital photographic devices, old postcards, … I can also be fascinated by the graphical nature of the typical hard-to-read and blurred photos of strange entities and inexplicable phenomena. I (re)interpret without being explicit. From abrasion of the image to another reality, where timelessness (past to apocalyptic), reality and illusion rule.

What was your first experience with art?

Since childhood I’ve been captivated by the world of drawing and all things related. My father as well as an uncle drew pretty well. As a child I admired that a lot.

Also, for example a print in my grandmother’s house, a children’s book with somber, sober drawings and story drew my attention. I also remember several video-clips that were shown on MTV at the time. For instance, ‘Sledge hammer’ and ‘digging in the dirt’ by Peter Gabriel, ‘Slave to the rhythm’ by Grace Jones and ‘Take me on’ by AHA where someone stepped into a drawn world. However, in the course of time my memories of these music videos turned out to be completely different from the original, e.g. much more colorful or only certain short pieces…

You may not be able to talk about the ‘Great Arts’ here, that came a bit later, but of wonder and magic found within the world of imagery and visual culture.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

A fascination or curiosity and perhaps a certain fear of the power, beauty and immensity of nature and universe. The strange, inexplicable, fanciful, or rather dark side within imagery, film or story. The empty or deserted city where man dwells but is not visible.

What do you need in order to create your work?

Curiosity, surroundings, an attentiveness and being on the move. Armed with some technical tools from camera, computer, to paper and graphical print supplies, to build a photographic archive from which a visual work may or may not grow. Hereby also different materials such as casting resin, nets, printing press, drawing materials, ink, a quiet studio and slow process.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

Not necessarily recent but still: Roger Ballen, Paul Kooiker, Pierre Huyge and Fillip Vervaet

The exhibition (at the end of 2022) in Brussels of Japanese Ukiyo-e en Shin Hanga was also a revelation.

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