Jos Devriendt: Sculpting Light
Belgian artist Jos Devriendt is renowned for his ceramic mushroom lamps; minimalist and iconic contemporary sculptures that are conceptual and functional. Following in the footsteps of fellow Belgian René Magritte (Ceci n’est pas une pipe) Devriendt’s everyday objects push the boundaries of function with form, colour and light.
TLmag: How do you approach light and colour in a space?
Jos Devriendt (JD): It usually depends on how much light is necessary for a certain project. Most of the time there is too much light in a building and not always in the right place. It is important that there are different levels of light in a space because this makes it possible to create different atmospheres. The “night and day lamps” work as a sculpture during daytime and at night as light objects. As a sculptor, I want to reshape the form from day to night solely with light: the daylight, which shines upon the sculpture, and the artificial light, which comes from within and erases the material form. After researching the form, I experiment with different colours. Like abstract painters who use colours to evoke a particular sensation or impart meaning, I do in a three-dimensional way. Choosing colour is primarily by instinct but the important thing for me is to stay close to my intuitive feeling (for the work), as a child would.
TLmag: You grew up in Belgium – is there an object or craft tradition from your childhood that influences your work?
JD: My mother’s breast, then later on, other breasts! My work is influenced by many things including other artists, as well as folk art, art brut, design, and trips to the flea market. In high school, I studied painting but the teacher was so boring that I changed to ceramics and design.
TLmag: “Making” has been transformed by technological advancements such as CAD. How have these developments influenced your studio design process?
JD: I think it depends not on what is possible but on what is necessary. I have not seen many elegant and aesthetic objects made by a printer. Maybe it will come in time. I make everything in real-time and space and I like simple production processes like turning on the potters’ wheel and pouring clay in plaster moulds. All of my work is produced in Ghent. With regards to my design process, there is not a real system of working – I begin in the morning and I stop in the evening.
This interview is reposted from TLmag 32: Contemporary Applied in light of the artist’s recent work End of the Vase which has resulted from a twenty-year investigation into the ways design can ”meld aesthetics, symbolism, and associations or states of mind.”
Cover Image: Jos Devriendt by Bart van Leuven.