Vaast Colson
Exploring Nooks and Crannies...

22.06.2019–25.08.2019
nieuw zuid

Vaast Colson’s Long Summer: Episode 1

It’s no accident that a great quantity of neatly stacked pallets evokes the image of apartment buildings
and office blocks. The pallet was developed shortly after 1945 in order to ‘facilitate the loading of
freight-wagons’, just as buildings and cities in the post-WWII era had to facilitate the easy storage of
people. Vaast Colson’s expedition is a grand gesture, related to the ambitions of many modern artists
who wish to measure themselves against architecture. Carving a path through these pallets and this
asphalt jungle can only be done with the chainsaw named ‘lust for life’. With an echo of the romantic as
well: at the geographical center of that terra incognita there intersect journeys, both real and imagined.
Performance as theatre, installation as décor. The paradox of the thespian also applies to the artist.
The detached performer who effectively conjures up the right feelings, as opposed to the actor who
is driven by emotion and delivers a rendition of uneven quality. Vaast Colson does not identify himself
with his personage; he studies until he has his role fully under his belt, until he can comfortably move
within it. On the stage – even if filled with pallets the gallery remains a stage – all becomes enlarged
in order to achieve the necessary effect. Will the business-like exterior wrong-foot the viewer, or will
she or he understand that a voyage to the center of the earth is about to commence? – Vaast Colson,
who’d once described himself as a ‘dishonest’ artist, will settle scores with this paradox and delineate
a credible role. It will come down to proceeding, as far as is possible, in a calculated way. Then begins
the adventure where he lays everything on the line, for himself and for us.
The journey is also experiment, a test for the relationship between action and artifact. What Vaast
Colson wishes to discover: spaces that are more than reproductions of artistic communal spaces –
Art from Altamira to Today! – connected by passageways that are more than his life’s course.
In the same way that a sculptor ‘liberates’ a sculpture from a marble block, Colson hacks out free spaces in
a volume that clearly refers to the industrial aesthetic of minimal art. Art builds on other art, and also
critiques other art. In the Grand Eclectic Age (whose end is not yet in sight), the artist draws from the
reservoir of history anything he deems relevant without any preconceived notions or respect for
authority. From this is born his freedom. This is why he loosens himself from the illusionistic space
and takes over the real space as his work area.
In the middle of his career the artist finds himself in a dark forest of pallets that, in part thanks to a
welcome compagnon de route – here, the gallerist – changes into a most peculiar labyrinth.
Vaast Colson holds no truck with metaphors – though they indeed emerge when least expected – so we’ll
stick to metamorphosis. The impression of a maze makes one think of a game, but then a game
without strict rules, no winners or losers, a game that taps an inexhaustible source of possibilities.

Room I
Everything starts with drawings and writings, from the first impulse to the final grand plan (deviations
from which are certain). And the fellow traveler gets to see and read all. Do not discard on public
roads! The great difference with the conceptual forefathers is that here the artist proceeds beyond an
introduction. Vaast Colson gives form to the material. Along the way things emerge that bear strong
resemblance to art works. He perhaps does not return with the Philosophers' Stone, but certainly
indeed with a large load of crystals. – This 'transparent communication' makes of the whole enterprise
an even more hazardous venture. Or: a promise is a promise.

Room II
Here it becomes clear that only doubt can save art. Once having taken up position with the collector,
the display waits for postcards that perhaps will not arrive, or at any rate not all of them. Vaast Colson
makes mail art itself into a theme: the postcards that he sends have two address-sides, that of
addressee and that of the sender. Even the most refined calculation of probability cannot predict
the outcome. Here prevails the same uncertainty, the same element of play as with the
journeythrough-pallets. Vaast Colson undermines the classic scheme of verbal communication by calling
into question the notion of sender and receiver. And not bereft of irony, he refers to what art is still able
to do: namely, to answer questions with new questions.

Jan Ceuleers.

Episode I - DISPLAY
22.06.19 - 14.07.19
Opening 22.06.19 (14:00-18:00)

Episode II - EXPEDITION
15.07.19-02.08.19 (Gallery Closed)

Episode III - EXHIBITION
03.08.19 - 25.08.19
Opening 03.08.19 (14:00-18:00)

Represented artist

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