Thomas Vancoppenolle

Born in: 1994, Belgium
Lives in: Ghent, Belgium
Media: Photography, Film/analog photography, Installation, Printmaking, Video, Crafts
Describe your art in three words: Nostalgia, melancholy, solitude
See More Work: | Instagram

Meditation On A Landscape - Still from video installation, 1x1m

"Is it possible to become friends with a butterfly? Suppress your presence as a human being, stay very still, and convince yourself that you are a tree or grass or a flower. It takes time, but once the butterfly lets its guard down, you can become friends quite naturally."
- 1Q84, Haruki Murakami

Papillon: A Sense of Place - Still from video installation (I of II), 4 x 5 m
Papillon: A Sense of Place - Transparent plexiglass sculpture 60 x 40 cm
Maze - Paper poster A2
What themes does your work involve?
My work often explores the notion of a place, and the way in which we perceive and experience the different aspects of a landscape on a personal level. In what ways are we affected by the mental and sensorial qualities of a ‘landscape’ in its various forms, and how much of our own subconscious or memories do we project onto the places or phenomena that we encounter throughout our lives? Is it possible to perceive a work with singular meaning while every person carries his or her own background?
Describe your creative process.
Through the collection of fragmented images of places or landscapes, poetry, sound or photosculptural work, I process and mould questions of place and belonging into visual or auditive works. Can a work breathe or have a personal connection to us, translated mainly through form or, sound or text? Bringing a sense of life or energy into an otherwise static experience, I invite viewers into a dialogue with these mental spaces to project and reflect themselves on what is in front of them.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I feel the biggest influence for me has always mainly come from the East. When I was introduced to the work of Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama at the age of 18, something inside of me was awakened by the expressive energy in his work. A completely new world opened up to me from then on, maybe for the first time. In addition to this, I've always been strongly fascinated by subjects as Taoism, Shintoism, or other philosophies and beliefs that speak on any kind of animism in nature or life.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
For me, explanations and words always come second, so I think the greatest power of art lies in speaking through its various forms first and foremost, before anything has been said or read about it. At a time when streams of information approach us from all sides, I value it immensely when I feel my emotions being touched by something without having someone come up to me to explain what this specific work is supposed to be about, or should be. That way, form can always prevail over language.
What is the role of the artist today?
I have little judgment about what role art, or the artist should take on in this society, but I do know that I want to give myself fully to this quest that carries beauty and slowing down in mind, at all times. Regardless of any socio-actual context from which art could speak, I'll express whatever I can in form or sound, and invite people to stand still amidst the flow that keeps pulling us from place to place. I chose art for the sake of feeling connected with the other and the self.


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist

Explore More Art