The highly sculptural work of Daan Gielis (BE, 1988) initially seems difficult to interpret, revealing very little at first glance, and requiring time to settle in the viewer’s mind. Gradually, an atmosphere manifests itself, revealing the essence of the work; private key moments or scenes taken from various subcultures and film, literature and art history. His abstraction seeks to uncover the essence and plays with subtleties. The created atmosphere is enhanced by the relationship and the play with the architectural environment and other existing objects. In more recent work, this interaction is increasingly brought to the fore.
Gielis creates an atmosphere through an analysis of conventions and models from, for example, the world of film, which are then translated into visual elements. Through the unconscious recognition of these elements, the viewer is led into the preconceived direction or atmosphere that has been constructed with much subtlety and great attention to material. Gielis, to this end, uses simple materials –steel, glass, wood, light and sound – whose meaning he analyses in depth. The work, based on these layers of meaning, takes on a highly personal flair, yet the applied abstraction simultaneously gives it a very universal character.
He works with recurring shapes and motifs in an on-going process of reduction aimed at uncovering the essence of the object. This is also why existing works are adapted to new spatial situations or placed in different compositions, thereby gaining in significance. This, precisely, is the power of Gielis; his continued development of the work, his search for subtleties, all in function of creating increasingly stronger work.