Ghent - UP-AND-COMING - Theo De Meyer & Stefanie Everaert
CH Since when are you living in Ghent and where did you study or "learn" to work in the fields of art?
TM & SE We have both lived here since we were studying. Stefanie went to KASK (school of arts Ghent) where she studied interior design. Then she was engaged in Maarten Van Severen's studio and started their own practice Doorzon interior architects with her colleague Caroline Lateur. Both interior architects and working for 17 years on various scales. From furniture to interiors, exhibitions and buildings. Theo studied architecture at Sint Lucas Ghent. He has worked within the office of architects de vylder vinck taillieu, assisted within ETH Zurich and started his own practice in 2019. Many friends are artists and so he found himself between different disciplines. From Architecture, to design and art. We both teach at KU Leuven University, we are partners in life and within our profession. Bringing all these experiences together, we are aware that we learn a lot from each other, as well as from all kinds of specialists within different fields. Collaboration therefore plays a special role in our practice. When we have to frame such collaboration, we call it Stand Van Zaken (a State of Affairs ) between different encounters. And all this happened and is still happening within Ghent.
CH What are your influences? Did the city influence your work and if yes, in which ways?
TM & SE Imagine you are sitting on a bench and nearby you feel a lantern, a fountain and a garbage can Then you notice the way it is used and you might understand that this arrangement feels like a space. But if you look closely, the way those pieces are made is very interesting. Bring everything together and you find yourself in a public interior. We learn a lot from those experiences. Try to transform things into something new and recognizable, playing with scale and bringing the outside towards the inside or the other way around. You can find all this in our project "Serra," a greenhouse that became our atelier, home, school, etc.
CH Are there any special programs for artists in Ghent maybe open to application for foreigners too?
TM & SE Find a good artist you feel connected to, be guided, and stay for a little while.
CH If art interested people or fellow artists are visiting you in Ghent, where do you go?
TM & SE They are all very eager to try Belgian waffles and fries. For us, it's a good time to recall this. In addition, we show them around: Chambre D'amis was an exhibition organized in 1986 by curator Jan Hoet. Very referential and you can still find beautiful pieces all over the city. For example, a facade by architect Charles Vandenhove next to the Design Museum Ghent, and the original of 'le décor et son double' by Daniel Buren in the Herbert Foundation. All of these can also be connected to S.M.A.K. Speaking of architecture, we walk in the "Prinsenhof" neighborhood. There you will find the beauty of architect Marie José Van Hee. If you like architecture, don't forget to also look at some masterpieces by Robbrecht and Daem, Xavier De Geyter, architects de vylder vinck taillieu, Wim Goes, etc. But above all we like to visit some friends and talk about their great work. Bram Vanderbeke (artist), Sybren Vanoverberghe (artist), Manor Grunewald (artist), Atelier Ecru (gallery) , Barbé Urbain (gallery), Designmuseum Gent, Kunsthal, Steamy Windows (restaurant), Gitane (bar), Jiggers (bar), Labath (coffee), Simon Say's (coffee), ....
CH Which people do you think are the main drives of Ghents art scene and why?
TM & SE In general, we would say, young people full of energy who take active part within the city and its culture. The more experienced artists tend to seek work in other cities or abroad. The danger of Ghent is that soon enough it becomes too comfortable, but at the same time it is the reason why people like to stay.
CH What were your personal highlights of 2022 and what are your goals for 2023?
TM & SE We worked closely with Designmuseum Gent, kunsthal Gent and Middelheim museum Antwerp. We had great collaborations with Bram Vanderbeke, Camille Henrot, Olivier Goethals, Arnaud Eubelen, Comte Meuwly, etc. More and more we are moving from private space to public use. Next year we will build an entrance for a park, a sculpture in a park, a stage for a festival, a library, an exhibition, a restaurant, a gallery show, ... All things that we are very much looking up to. But the real goal would be is finding ourselves back underneath an olive tree.