ISABEL MIQUEL ARQUES
A Study on Movement and Imperfections
A selection of works from 2013 to the present day gives us a glimpse into Isabel Miquel Arques' search for the soul of the medium of photography. Averse to a technically accurate reproduction, the artist resolutely opts for the imperfection of experimentation. With attention to materiality, transparency, texture and tactility, she approaches her prints and screen prints as physical objects, sculptures present in time and space. The exhibition is curated by Roxane Baeyens.
February 28 - April 20, 2013
I am on the extension of history. I am more than four hundred years old.
I am part of what remains. I am made from what has been. I am what floats after sinking.
I am a letter, a prayer, a musical phrase, a piece of work.
This exhibition is part of my past and my present.
AGITATION stands for disturbance and nervous tension, for excitement and a rapid heartbeat.
Discovery, storms, invasion, religion, stain, menace, wound, illumination, confession, knowledge, ink, gold, waves, force, escape, ownership, darkness, admiration, punishment, black, pilgrimage, possession, destruction, reconstruction, mud.
Back to the present I am trying to bind the unbinding knots with a past, not only reflected in images but also in form and texture.
The photographs are printed on old, torn and faded paper, full of imperfections.
I wanted to bring back -in a medium led by perfect reproduction- the unique and the craftsmanship, the beauty of the irregular, the excitement of the unconventional.
The artworks are not sterile, nor polished.
We are full of traces.
Isabel Miquel Arques is mostly a self-taught artist. Experimenting with all kinds of photography, from classical to pinhole cameras. Growing up in a very rich cultural environment but spartan way of living, shaped her way of seeing life and applying photography. This sobriety makes her to work with the strictly basic, camera and natural light.
Complicated sets and bulky props are to far away from her personality. As a photographer she spent a long time trying to find her own way -between tradition and modernity- creating a path where her work is strong influenced by the art of painting in textures, colours and composition.
This is first to perceive in her photo book “Portret met garnaalkroket” (Portrait with schrimp croquet) published by Ludion, where she reflects the artistic Belgian scene by making the portraits of some of their most emblematic members, like Luc Tuymans, Jan Hoet, Michael Borremans, Stephan Vanfleteren, Dirk Braeckman, Jan Fabre…
Since then and living currently in Antwerp -after Barcelona, Amsterdam and London-, she has been fascinated by the relationship in history between her country of birth, Spain, and her country of adoption, Belgium.
The result of her studies and observations about this subject, along with her cogitations on the photography world of today are the core of her last exhibition “Agitation”.
HERE BE LIONS
November 20 - January 9, 2016
Toon Tellegen’s book, “Letters to Sleeping Beauty”, has greatly inspired this exhibition.
The book describes the story of a prince deciding that the time has come to find Sleeping Beauty and kiss her. He doesn’t know where she is to be found, what this voyage shall bring or what to expect from his journey as a whole. During the course of his one-year travel he writes her letters everyday.
The core of this exhibition aren’t fairy tales, not even "Sleeping Beauty” herself, but another kind of beauty that goes further than hundred years of sleep: longing.
In today’s world, which appears to be fed by the immediate and the imminent, the notion of ‘longing’ seems to be part of “The dictionary of forgotten words”.
In my mind however, longing is this fascinating, lengthy process filled with desire, exaltation, doubt, disappointment, contradiction, poetry and hope. It’s a pursuit. It’s a thought on the move and yet steady. Delighting, enlightening and dark all together.
The uncertainty of this deep inner voyage has set the tone and therefore been the inspiration for the title of this exhibition, which is to be named, “Here be lions”.
“Here be lions”, echoes the medieval practice of putting dragons, lions or sea serpents in uncharted areas of the map.
Those are our prince’s territories.
“Here be lions” holds twelve artworks, representing the twelve months within a peculiar year, without any seasons.
The work is a rather dark piece established in black and white narrative, which appears to be set in a somewhat unconventional fairy tale décor, where the individual –the prince in this case- exudes awkwardness, as if there was something unnatural in his longing.
The images are not a statement. On the contrary, the door that leads to interpretation is wide open.
June 24 - July 7, 2018
I love a loud silence.
The kind that follows a furious fight.
Adrenaline calling for breath.
One that’s warm. And moist. And soft.
But heady still and hot and wet and
Furry awkwardness on your tongue.
Empty lungs and raw throats.
Only tense eyes left,
On both silences.
Lucie De Roeck
Translated by David Colmer