SLS 3D print
58 x 29 x 52 cm
22.8 x 11.4 x 20.5 inches
The three “strawberry sculptures” AELBWARTS, NABEKIESAV and NABEKIARTS are the result of an exchange between Nick Ervinck and Dr A.P.M. Ton den Nijs, a scientist at the Plant Breeding Department of Wageningen University. This department holds a patent for the cultivation of a genetically manipulated variety of strawberry. Using the plant’s own DNA, the researchers developed a new strawberry variety that is resistant to fruit rot. It requires fewer pesticides and has a longer shelf life than a natural strawberry.
With NABEKIESAV, this hybridisation process is carried to the extreme. The leaves of the strawberry plant gradually change colour. A utopian, almost surreal strawberry seems to grow from the vase and be held together by a skeleton. The vase seems about to spring into life. Viewed from the side, the support does not seem static but to have movement, as though it was the legs of a woman in a skirt. Ervinck sets out to create the illusion that his sculptures may suddenly come to life.
As always, the artist tries to create an openness that will attract the viewer to consider his work from different angles. NABEKIESAV has both a poetic and a critical social dimension. On the one hand, the sculptural contradictions, such as inside/outside and rough/smooth, make this work purely poetic. The visual language has a surprising impact. The sculpture resembles a horned demon emerging from its cave. NABEKIESAV could be described as a poem manifested in physical form. On the other hand, this work questions how far we can or should go in manipulating food. Will we be able to create our own food in the future?
The influence of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, is very evident in NABEKIARTS. In this
traditional art form, the vase, stems and leaves are as much a part of the composition as the flowers. The focus is more on the shape and the lines than on the colours or the flowers themselves. Each arrangement must also include stems that symbolise heaven, earth and humanity.
The third source of inspiration for these works was a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. There, Ervinck saw a display of 18th century Meissen vases that were illustrated with an allegorical depiction of the four seasons. These flamboyant vases are lavishly decorated with plants, animals and creatures that can seem more beautiful than their originals in the natural world. While this porcelain is a testament to great craftsmanship, it also has an absurd side: a combination that Ervinck strongly admires. While Rococo and Baroque are not styles that many people enjoy today, these artistic forms of plant mutation are an ode to the aspirations of that generation of sculptors. With AELBWARTS, NABEKIESAV and NABEKIARTS, Ervinck investigates how he can use today’s techniques to transcend or continue the craftsmanship of the past. His 3D prints are also the result of meticulous craftsmanship. Parts that are 3D printed are painted by hand: a process that requires patience and precision. Ervinck’s work reinvents classical sculpture through a cross-fertilisation between innovation and tradition and does so in a purely contemporary context.
Häme Castle - National Museum of Finland - Hämeenlinna, FI
Cultuurcentrum - Sint-Niklaas, BE
TRESOR contemporary Craft,
Messe - Basel, CH
Between Earth and Heaven, PAK - Brugge, BE
Bogarden Kapel - Brugge, BE
De 9de Maand,
- Tongeren, BE
Sweet 18, Kasteel d'Ursel - Ursel, BE
Green Light District,
Budafabriek - Kortrijk, BE
GNI-RI mar2014, NK Gallery - Antwerpen, BE