REALITY UNDER HIGH TENSION
A wedge lifts a wall. A radiator appears to have melted by the very heat it produces. A wall seems to grow out of another. The universe that Roeland Tweelinckx (1970) creates is indeed quite a strange one. It is not a new world that he devises; he rather works from existing reality, adding new accents or shifting extant elements. His, as Beatrice Eemans aptly phrased, is an acupuncture of the space.
Tweelinckx, through small interventions, creates surreal situations and short circuits. He makes pillars float, bends steel beams and ties a knot in a tube. Something between John Massis and David Copperfield. The artist does not work with marble or bronze, but with sockets, walls, electrical cables, pipes, trestles and baseboards. His attention shifts from the painting on the wall to the actual wall. Like the plumber or electrician of conceptual art.
Tweelinckx plays with our optical observation and perception. ‘Read it, it is not what it says,’ wrote the Dutch poet Martinus Nijhoff. Roeland Tweelinckx turns this into: ‘Look, it is not what it is.’ The artist encourages us to better observe the surrounding reality. Through his minimal interventions, he sharpens our perception, finely adjusts it. He transforms the everyday reality we are so familiar with to the point where we no longer pay any attention to it. Those slight, homely disruptions often provokemoments of doubt: Where is the work? Was this like that? We are often seeing blind. The artist asks nothing better than that visitors engage in dialogue about his interventions. And that the work, in this way, lives on in those conversations.
Tweelinckx works within the tradition of the trompe l’oeil. He makes light of reality. In Ljubljana, for instance, he made a crack in the wall in six different museums. The intervention, however, turned out to be a silk screen, directly applied onto the walls. Or what about his half empty (or is it half full?) Coke bottle. The soft drink seems to float in the bottle, seemingly unaffected by gravity or other natural laws. The artist likes to lead the visitor astray. The aforementioned bottle is placed in front of an atypical, whitewashed window that immediately captures the viewer’s attention. Like a visual lightning rod, it leads us away from the actual work. It is the classic detective mistake: the solution was right in front of us, but we failed to see it! Tweelinckx quite often distracts our gaze. In an earlier exhibition, he arranged a piece of upward curling linoleum floor covering so that visitors would look at it head on and fail to notice it right away. The artist sets the stage for maximum surprise.
Tweelinckx, although a creator of sculptural objects, feels especially at home in situ. He starts with the peculiarity and potential of the existing space. He singles out architectural anomalies or specific peculiarities, which he then accentuates, emphasises; his intervention, in this way, is embedded almost unnoticeably into reality. In a house with a surprisingly highnumber of electrical sockets (villa T.D. by Stéphane Beel) he placesan extra copy, the difference between original and copy being almost indistinguishable. It is up to the visitor to guess which one was designed by the artist. In an exhibition hall (De Markten) that houses a busy constellation of fire extinguishers, signage and pictograms, he sets up a composition of extra fuse boxes and cables. The result is a tangle of wires, cables and electricalcabinets.
Homely items are continuously recurring elements. But it remains to be seen whether it is all that pleasant to stay in a house whoseceiling has cut the space in half, forcing you to clamber through the door in order to enter. It feels as if the room narrows and the floor collapses under your feet. The artist, much in the way he mentally subverts our perception, blocks doors and passages. He often removes contradictions. Outside becomes inside, inside becomes outside. As is the case in his intervention at the Berchem railway station. A set of steps under a bridge is fitted with skirting board. A homely and slightly absurd touch in the public space.
The artist plays with the properties of his material and our expectations that surround it. A miraculously bent bar turns out to have been fashioned out of MDF. Objects are sometimes given anthropomorphic characteristics. Like the curved trestle, hangingtiredly on a wall. Pause for a second. What should normally hang,stands. What should be standing, hangs. A series of mossy tiles stands upright, as if resurrected. A wedge soon becomes a stumbling block. Cables quite often appear to have kinks in them. Reality, in the case of Roeland Tweelinckx, is often permanently put under high tension.