I have made a couple of installations for the summer arts festival in Damme, near Bruges. They are not typical of my work, but probably still typical of my approach. Here are a couple of shots of one installation, a skeleton house I built with the help of my friend and rowing partner, Koen DeVaere.
Living in a medieval house has its benefits. We have 14th century wall paintings in our dining room.Every now and then people ask to see them.Today it was a group of singers rehearsing in a nearby church for a concert of early music. I showed them into the room and left them in the hands of their capable guide, Marjan Buyle, who restored the paintings in the 1990’s.
For several years I have engaged in an email exchange with the young French scholar Karine Bouchy, who just completed her doctorate in Paris on the gesture in contemporary calligraphy and art. I described to her an experience I had in Samarkand. After visiting endless madrassas and mosques, all decorated with exquisitely patterned tiles, I went to a pre-Islamic building and suddenly saw a fresco of a human face.
Just back from Australia, where I taught one of the most talented groups of calligraphers I have ever encountered. The trip was squeezed in between projects in Belgium, so I had no time to see the country, but it was worth it nevertheless. Two classes in five days, each with surprising results. The great reward of being a teacher is to survey the work of your students and say, silently, “I wish I had done that!”
Those early lessons in medieval script are still coming in handy. Here is a set dressed with a whole archive of “medieval” documents. And yes, you guessed it, Henry VIII again, and the wicked Cromwell. The timing is poignant for me. I am working on two installations for a summer arts festival in Damme, near Bruges.
Three incredible days in Corvey Abbey near the German town of Höxter in Westphalia. Charlemagne founded the monastery and constructed the great Westwork as his throne room. From here he governed the eastern provinces of his empire. The building still stands, and has just received the title of Unesco World Heritage site.