Installation - 1

Installation - 1 was my first performance, as a first-year sculpture student at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Gent.

On the occasion of a party on 11 January 1979 in the studios of the Sculpture Department in the old School Museum ‘Michel Thiry’ in Berouw in Gent, I made an installation in the entrance of the building - it is an obligatory passage for the partygoers. Using chipboards, I buildt a new ‘corridor’ in the entrance hall with walls and a floor. The wobbly floor slab rests partly on beer bins and, after a few metres, partly on my body. My bandaged head and chest on which I have previously inflicted wounds are visible through a window cut out in the floor. One by one, visitors have to pass through the corridor and only after a few steps do they realise that they are standing on top of a human body, that of the artist.

The performance was unannounced and even fellow students did not know what was going on, causing quite a commotion. Partly due to concerns of the caretaker, a telephone order from then director Pierre Vlerick, and partly due to aggressive reactions of some visitors, the performance was ended after three hours.

In 2021, Devos I created a so-called ‘bonsai’ sculpture/model of the performance. Bonsai is a traditional Japanese art form focused on growing miniature trees in pots. A woody plant is manipulated as it grows so that it remains a miniature tree that, in simple lines, exhibits the essential characteristics of a fully grown natural specimen. The term bonsai is often used as an umbrella term for all oriental-style miniature pot trees. However, the bonsai tradition has a specific doctrine of beauty, which developed under the influence of Zen Buddhism.

Chipboard, acrylic paint, 3D-print, 23cm x 21cm x 31cm.
Property of the artist.

Shown at:
  • Het Brievenproject - 1 in Kiosk, Gent, Belgium, 2022.
  • Fantastic Voyage through the Body of an Artist in Kiosk, Gent, Belgium, 2024.
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