For the Ithaka arts festival in Leuven (Belgium) Gijs Van Vaerenbergh created an installation, playing with the conventions of both architecture and sculpture. A greenhouse is installed in one of the rooms of an abandoned building. The recognizable structure, familiar in its materiality and form, is positioned so that one of its sides coincides with a wall. In this wall, a cut-out is made to the size of the side of the greenhouse. In this way, the structure is literally connected to the architecture, intersecting and disrupting it.
The greenhouse, moreover, is raised from the ground and placed on a pedestal fitted with neon lights that illuminate the object from underneath. This simple device brings the object's formal and structural aspects to the fore. The pedestal also makes it impossible to enter the greenhouse. As such, what was once familiar, now becomes utterly particular and unusual.
The greenhouse is subsequently perceived as both a sculpture, an objet trouvé, and as part of the architecture. Visitors can walk around the object and experience it as an entity in the space. Standing on the other side of the wall, however, they can also regard it as a viewing box, as they peer into the structure through the cut-out in the wall. From this perspective, the space in which the greenhouse is placed is experienced as a pictorial space, in which the visitors appear as constantly changing figures.
Ithaka Art Festival