Belgian glass captivates us today with its fresh vibrancy, innovation and variety. And yet, Belgium’s glass scene is still relatively young. The glass department at the Instituut voor Kunst en Ambacht, or IKA for short, located in the Belgian town of Mechelen, has done pioneering work here at the highest level. Because, before its founding in 1985, Belgium did not look back on a sophisticated history of glassmaking or any tradition of training, independent glass art or studio glass.
“The institute offered me the opportunity to discover the substance of glass, to understand its language and to explore its nature as a material,” says the artist Marre Geesink, describing the special significance of the Instituut voor Kunst en Ambacht Mechelen. Fostering the artistic potential of each and every student is at the heart of teaching at the IKA. Candidates from various countries, among them trained artists, are drawn to Mechelen for this reason. An inventive and inspiring atmosphere has evolved in which different ideas, backgrounds and working methods cross-fertilize one another.
In terms of technique and craftsmanship, the IKA provides exceptionally thorough training. All of the major disciplines in the warm glass field are taught, including glass blowing, casting, fusing and pâte de verre, along with coldworking processes such as engraving, grinding and polishing. The teachers and students at the IKA handle glass with a high degree of freedom and self-assurance. No one is mired either in the classic artisanal tradition or in the compulsion to undertake artistic experiments at any price. It’s thus no wonder that there is no such thing as a typical “IKA style”.
In our new exhibition, 14 students and graduates of the glass department at the IKA Mechelen present their work. They are guided in this endeavour by Sandra De Clerck, head of the glass department since 2002, and the lecturer Jeroen Heerwegh. The students in Mechelen face the demanding artistic task of finding and defining their own delicate balance between aesthetics, expression and technique. Just how well they have mastered this balancing act is demonstrated by their idiosyncratic, lyrical and in some cases socially critical installations, sculptures and objects.
Please join us in welcoming:
Ans Bakker, Thérèse Bouwens-van Herwaarden, Chris De Bock, Marre Geesink, Krista Israel, Anne Notebaert, Wilma van Rees, Rini Ronckers, Myriam Thomas, Ingrid Vandekelder, Ton Van Looijen, Ireen Van Praet, Nataliya Vladychko, Tinne Vroonen.
Van harte welkom!
Nataliya Vladychko, Sleep well, 2016 – Photo Steven van Kooijk
Ans Bakker, Ode to the Oosterschelde, 2015 – Photo Johan Kole
Tinne Vroonen, I do, 2017 – Photo Tinne Vroonen
Krista Israel, Crowding, 2017 – Photo Krista Israel