Gnome Garden

Gnome Garden

June 2019

Collaboration with Martijn Petrus

Garden design for BebeBooks, Ghent

exhibition text

Gnome Garden

2019

In a setting of European grotto gardens, small sculptures, as garden gnomes, appear between the green. There is one that looks like a Russian Orthodox church and others which reminds us of sandcastles on the beach. All of them seem to emit symbolism and references to otherworldly places.

Sometimes in the great history of the world there are individuals that create something out of context and out of time. Without any care for the established worlds of the arts, and without any need for the outside world to even see these projects, the maker is labeled an outsider artist. The projects are often obsessively worked on during the whole life of the maker and are known for very specific usage of (found) materials. They often combine sculpture, architecture and landscape design.

For yet another collaborative project, artists Mark Grootes and Martijn Petrus have worked together to realize a garden for Bebe Books’ space at Dok, Ghent. The many small sculptures that have been created for this garden all refer to different outsider projects that can be found around Europe. Bebe Books, as a queer art space, seems the ideal setting for this garden since queer politics and aesthetics are, just like the outsiders, sensitive to non conformative ideas and creations. Gnome Garden is a loving tribute to these outsider places and obsessions.

Mark Grootes (1991) and Martijn Petrus (1989) both graduated Master of Fine Arts at KASK, Ghent, and now work and live in Brussels.