I definitely have to answer ‘size’. The work in Ostend, Belgium is nine meters high. The public space gives you the opportunity to go big, to make an impact. Making large scale art is completely different from making smaller pieces. It involves the necessity of first building a strong supporting structure and treating the wood in a way so as to endure weather fluctuations but without compromising its historical essence. Location is also an inspiration. When I make a piece in a public space I try to collect all materials from that place. In a way the location determines the colour scheme of the artwork.
Is there a story of sculpture’s profiles that you design on facades?
Every artwork has its own story. My sculptures have been stripped of face, name and identity. Only expression remains. The bases of which these figures are made – fragments of old doors, patinated wooden floors, split or disintegrated garage doors – display scars. We all have them, scars of the past.
The history of the wood adds an extra dimension to these portraits. I combine wood from places like the Imperial Shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland with wood from a bar in Kortrijk or the old medieval Saint Baafs Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium. Every piece tells a unique story but all those stories form a human silhouette. It’s one big metaphor; we are all an entity made up of the different stories that shape us to who we are. That’s why I never alter the materials I find. In real life, people try to hide their scars but I can see the beauty in them. They are part of everyone’s unique story of becoming human.
Time is a big inspiration. To me, the discarded materials are something magical. They possess a certain spontaneity that’s impossible to recreate. The colours, the paint, the relief… they form an esthetic imprint of everything that ever happened to the materials. You can ‘see’ time. It’s a privilege to be able to use it.
Stefaan De Croock (1982) lives and works in Bruges, Belgium. He mastered in fine arts (graphic design) at Sint-Lucas in Ghent. Since 2011 Stefaan fully dedicates his time to his artistic craft and project ‘Strook’. His training and experience as a graphic designer put a clear mark on his artistic vision.
Interview: Özlem Kan