the girls next door: curated by nadia bijl

Jan 13 - Feb 17, 2018



Press release
KETELEER GALLERY is very pleased to present The Girls Next Door, a group exhibtion with works by Elleke Frijters, Valgerður Sigurðardóttir and Charline Tyberghein, curated by Nadia Bijl.
For The Girls Next Door I invited Elleke Frijters, Valgerður Sigurðardóttir and Charline Tyberghein to exhibit in the project space NEXT DOOR – a recent initiative of KETELEER. These three artist, belonging to my own generation, have very diverse oeuvres and are showing their most recent works.
The title of the exhibition was inspired by the context of the location. The Girls Next Door is a humorist and ironic allusion to the name of the gallery. KETELEER has, up until now, only represented male artists: heavy weights like Jan Fabre, Koen Theys, Guilaume Bijl amounts others. The gallerists were thus very excited about my proposal to change – although just temporarily – this and to present three young, female artists.
Elleke Frijters (°1993) graduated last year at KASK in Gent and lives and works in Antwerp since last year.
In the creation of her works, Frijters starts from the sculptural character of mundane objects, materials and patterns which she discovers in public spaces, indoor or in nature. Varying shapes are associatively combined and manipulated. Frijters dissociates objects from their function, context and surroundings, deforms them by altering scale, structure and colour. From this, sculptures emerge that become hard to read directly, sculptures that are at the same time abstract and figurative, alienating and recognisable. In her latest sculpture Adhenis (2018) Frijters experiments with the way a sculpture ‘infiltrates’ someone’s personal space and vice versa: how close does the spectator  dare to come? She employs a visual attraction mechanism akin to that of flowers to lure insect into their calyx. This element is combined with shapes were we can put our head in, like that of motorcycle helmets or drying hoods, involving a certain feeling of surrender.
Valgerður Sigurðardóttir (°1992), born in Iceland, will complete her Masters degree at KASK, Gent this year and lives and works in Antwerp.
Sigurðardóttir creates playful figurative drawings and sculptures where humor plays a crucial role and a tension is created between an imagery of delicate lightness and a rough execution.The sculptures and drawings can be based either on a word-play, like a rebus or on personal memories, dreams or made up scenes which are combined in her drawings. The drawings spring to life freely, spontaneously and without restrictions. They are autonomous works but sometimes the artist distilled certain elements from a drawing which she translates into a 3D work.
The sculpture Mystery for example contains a motive which is taken from the Hiding: Curtain drawing. In this drawing a character hides behind a curtain, leaving only the feet visible. The sculpture is made out of a clear resin, making the character literally disappear. At the same time the doing behind the curtain is made impossible by the the inherent translucency of the material itself. Hiding and covering are also a recurrent theme in the concrete sculpture Hiding: Staircase.
Charline Tyberghein (°1963) is completing her Masters degree in Painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp and lives and works in Antwerp.
In her paintings and drawings Charline Tyberghein uses her own language consisting of symbols pictograms that float, as it were, in the imaginary space of the two-dimensional surface of her paintings. The painting Diff’rent Strokes combines many of her made-up pictograms or hieroglyphs.  This small shapes are combined in such a way that they tell a story or form someone’s portrait. some of them are very clearly defined, others take on a different meaning when combined with other symbols. Another distinctive feature in her work is the use of repetition of certain elements like bricks, waterdrops and legs wearing shoes. This mantra-esque repetition has a comforting effect, the repetition of mundane objects generates the familiar. Sometimes a sombre tone is hiding behind what, at first sight, look like funny and light scenes, fooling the spectator. Tyberghein also likes to use troupe l’oeil techniques while at the same time staying aware of the flatness of the canvas/panel. This way the spectator gets drawn into the artist’s unique surreal world.
Elleke Frijters, Valgerður Sigurðardóttir and Charline Tyberghein are three young artists presenting their work in the small project space next to the main gallery. None of them is focusing any attention to the theme of ‘being a woman’ in their work or attitude. It’s thus unnecessary to dwell on this much talked about subject. The intention is to reduce the ironic title of the exhibition to an absurdity as a result of the artistic qualities and relevance of the works. With a necessary dose of perspective, the exhibition aims at infiltrating the traditionally patriarchal art world rather than avoiding provocation, and have the voices of the artists heard.
Nadia Bijl, January 2018.
Installation Views