A street, a house or a piece of furniture are examples of the kind of everyday objects and situations that form the heart of the work of Sofie Van der Linden (BE, 1986). Working from memory, she translates these situations into line drawings. The drawings represent objects, walls and spaces, rendered in just a few lines that leave the underlying object or area visible. The result is a play of lines that subverts the human tendency to read drawings to the point where the viewer becomes entirely entangled in the process. This touches upon one of the core points in the work of Van der Linden, namely the human inability to render a particular spatial situation, replete with all its elements, from memory. Objects or spaces that have acquired an important place in Van der Linden’s mind are given a prominent place in the drawings, while less important elements are forgotten. This very phenomenon makes that no two drawings are the same, even if often a similar situation is depicted.
For her presentation at CIAP in Hasselt, she has shifted her gaze from her own memory to the collective memory. She set out in search of people who could tell something from their own experience about a destroyed director’s villa in Hasselt. The testimonies often contradicted one another, thus demonstrating the volatility of accuracy in the collective memory.
In the frame of her on-going project in De Kringwinkel in Antwerp, she examined the sorting process used to sift through all the incoming items. She depicted not only the spaces and the equipment used during this process, but also recorded the personal stories of a number of employees. She is fascinated by a system of symbol cards used by the staff in an attempt to break through language barriers. She explores an alternative classification system used in the sorting process in which the symbols play an important role.
During her work period at FLACC, she turns her attention to the layout of streets, neighbourhoods and districts in Genk. The many passages, such as tunnels and connecting streets, are typical of Genk, and have become a fascinating topic of interest. It originates in her attempt to understand the spatial structure of Genk, which can be quite difficult to fathom for an outsider. The urge to create order, and thus to understand, is continued in her quest for a method through which the individual drawings can be organized so as to clarify the complexity of the various connections that run through Genk.
Her working method, which involves frequent bike tours – and getting lost – in the neighbourhood, alternated with a study of historical and geographical sources, and Genk-related social phenomena, reflects the depth of her work. At first glance, the drawings seem unpretentiously simple. Upon closer inspection, however, the drawings reveal a hidden world in which a multitude of phenomena and observations are given a place. It is in this very depth that lies the strength of the work of Van der Linden.