Bahrein Revisited – Ceramic investigations by An Vanderveken

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This work is a result of a research project – investigating principles and motifs in Islamic Art and Architecture

The journey began from the amazement in geometrical patterns used in interiors – made with wood-carvings – plaster stucco’s – mosaics tile work and inlay work in numerous materials within Islamic Interiors. Diverse travels to Islamic countries and research into their craftsmanship generated the inspiration and tools to analyse and transform inherent principles into this work. Fundamentals of the complex geometries were analysed and taken apart, to be re-written into a new intuitive configuration and autonomous interpretation of space and matter.


The basic line-configurations were transformed into 3D configurations and patterns by which the adding of dimensions created volumes and objects that are part of each other – fit into each other – stand next to one another. Dimensional figures that are made out of the same genetic material. Departing from paper-sculpture-studies the forms were sculpted into clay, from which moulds in plaster were made and poured into porcelain – a method to be able to repeat endlessly the basic parts of a continuous pattern.

Porcelain – for its fragility – transparency and delicate capacity to capture and absorb light. Diverse experimentations searched for capturing colours hidden inside the materialisation while working with different layers. The appearance of colour from within the mass became a playground for various manipulations on the surface.


The color atmospheres were inspired by observations into the work of Gerhard Richter and Wolfgang Tillmans – images that confuse and balance between sharply edged outlines and a gradual fading away.

Different elements out of the pattern are confronted towards each other by which a relation of attraction – embracement – entanglement – fusion and rejection takes place. The space between the objects generates an architectural tension – an unpredictable “in between space” that constantly transforms and adapts itself depending on the position of one element towards the other. The work is balanced on a scale between architecture and object.

This work by An Vanderveken (teacher@KU Leuven, Interior Architecture) is a final project of a 5 year ceramics course at SASK Academy – Sint-Niklaas and was nominated with the Legaat Hulstaert Price 2017.

Pictures @ An Vanderveken and Frederik Vercruysse



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