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SHOWdROOM (2019) is the second of the series Family Business. The show was presented at Paepens showroom for sanitary ware, run by the Paepens family.

Mark Grootes – Muro Antico (2019)

Jonathan Paepens – Decay of Stability and Remarks (2019

Jonathan Paepens – FC de Kampioenen S03 A10 Kiescampagne. (2019)

Martijn Petrus – Immensely, Awfully, Terribly lucky Bamboo (2019)

TG – H.N.M. (2019)
Drawings and Paintings by G.Paepens de Gheest


Mark Grootes – Muro Antico (2019)

Muro Antico exists out of six samples, varnished mdf squares in either white, grey or black, which all feature a replica of a fragment of well known European ruïnes. The ruïnes depicted are Villa Adriana in Tivoli, Italy (black) – Pompeii, Italy (white)– Vögué, Vallon de Pont D’Arc, France (grey). Within this showroom filled with bathrooms and other sanitary spaces the samples become suggestions of bathroom interiors, each a fragment that can become a space completely build in the style of the famous ruine.

In these current times some forces throughout Europe are glorifying golden ages from the past rather then feeling excitement for the future. Gone is the optimism of the nineties, lost is our faith that globalism can create a a union. Science, religion and politics, the pillars of our civilization, are all under pressure by the grim reality of a public dissatisfaction with society. Within the anti movements who rally against the established order, there seems to be a general feeling that things used to be better in our countries. The story that is being sold is that of an reversed Renaissance. For what is left of Europe the Great, where is the evidence of our triumphant past?

As a fragment, and out of context, the bricks of Muro Antico show only a distortion. In fact nothing can be sold. The picturesque ideal did not survive our modern world.

Jonathan Paepens – Decay of Stability and Remarks (2019)

For the SHOW(d)ROOM expo at my family I saw the possibility to continue the conversation started at the first step of this exhibition series. I again choose to make an aquarel with a subject that is unpleasant and disturbing, and this time within the context of bathrooms. The aquarel shows Stachybotrys Chartarum. It is the black fungus that fromed in warm and moist places, often seen in bathrooms. I paint them out of a memory of what they were. The eternal failing of mankind on the possible victory of man on nature. We try endlessly to ban the natural out of our immediate environment. The only things that remain in the houses are the mimetic memories of that what is natural. Plants are remnants of our natural environment, although through years of breeding they have lost some of their being natural. They are just as synthetically created as the landscape paintings that show views on some mountains somewhere in Greece, that are meant to flourish the living rooms of our houses. This is not a plea for reïntegration of men and nature. It is more about the beauty of memory. A mimetic memory of nature. That is what the works I am showing are about. It shows something that should be pushed to the background and results in only the memory of that what is depicted. The memory of fungus that should remain as far away as possible, just like all other natural things in our living and working spaces.

The second work I repeat or for which I make an addition is in the series ‘REMARKS’. The series ‘REMARKS’ is about these notes that try to fill in the unanswered questions as placeholder. For how long is very unclear. They remain open for both the one who asks the questions as well as the viewer. The questions are unanswered, they provide answers to nothing. They are empty, just as the thoughts about the questions are empty and unanswered. Everything that is incomprehensible as idea can only be shown as a question.

FC De Kampioenen S03 A10 kiescampagne (2019)

The last work I made for this show is ‘FC De Kampioenen S03 A10 kiescampagne’. A work in which I used an episode of belgian tv show FC De Kampioenen as inspiration.  The movie is stripped of it’s image and only the primary colours of the belgian political parties remain. They are gliding and flashing over the screen with meaningless subtitles underneath. These subtitles I found on youtube, the Flemish isn’t well translated here either. It’s a residue that can only be understood by the insider who within the uneasy political situation tries to identify and clarify. Although this video clearly fails, as do I.

‘For SHOWdROOM I also invited my grandmother to exhibit her paintings and drawings she made in the academy during the late 40’s and 50’s. Some of them once graced the parental home, but most of them have been hidden for years in basement closets and attics. Now for the first time they are exhibited.’

Martijn Petrus – Immensely, Awfully, Terribly lucky Bamboo (2019)

The manipulation of nature and especially of plants, has been a big part of my practice for the last couple of years. This interest does not really spring from an ecological place but more from a place of imagination and fantasy. Seeing the strange human creations like plants braided into each other or forced to grow in a certain way, triggers feelings of wonderment and amusement in me, making me curious to see what else could be possible. It often results in me making a synthetic version of a natural occurrence. Much like the work Reflection H2O, a mirror that is deformed to resemble the reflection of a water surface.

The two prints on the shower curtains (Immensely, Awfully, Terribly Lucky Bamboo) that were created for SHOWdROOM, depict a digital simulation inspired by Lucky Bamboo.

A funny thing about Lucky Bamboo is that it’s not bamboo at all, it’s actually a young branch taken from the dracaena plant. The single green branches of “fake” bamboo are often manipulated into growing in the shape of a spiral. But there are many varieties, including examples consisting of many branches that are woven together to form complicated constructions. However, even after their manipulation, they still function as plants. They need water, they grow and they even shoot roots.

With the future of plant manipulation in mind I simulated a new kind of Lucky Bamboo. A kind that can resemble other shapes and material qualities, like mirrored glass or a metallic kind of gloss.

TG – H.N.M. (2019)

‘Fingers first, longing towards the crisp material to push it aside. Enough space for the rest of the body to follow, squeezing carefully through the curtain. Feet are touching the tiles made to resist water. No sign of it whatsoever. A smell of dryness, a sense of dirt. When will the water?’

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