The Princessehof programmes exhibitions featuring works by artists who have completed an artist’s residency at the European Ceramic Work Centre (EKWC). From 2 December 2017, Caroline Coolen (BE, 1975) will exhibit her rugged sculptures that are reminiscent of thistles. EKWC@Princessehof is one of the exhibitions celebrating not only the reopening of the Princessehof after a major renovation but also the museum's centenary.
Four of Coolen's large assemblages can be seen in the exhibition. The ceramic works are reminiscent of thistles, a metaphor for the untameable. The artist has a fascination for what is in the periphery, that which remains underexposed. The thistle symbolises this predilection. She also expresses her concerns for the environment in her work. For example, the title Qui s'y frotte, s'y pique (‘those who touch will prick themselves') is a clear warning: those who are irresponsible must suffer the consequences.
Coolen experiments with materials in her assemblages. She has integrated porcelain into her work since her residency at the EKWC in 2017. This results in an interesting interaction with the metal in her sculptures. Moreover, due to the processing of ceramics, a tension arises between the raw choice of subjects and the fragile material.
Caroline Coolen studied sculpture at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in Antwerp. She tries to get a grip on reality through her collages, montages, assemblages and free association. She compresses her impressions of the outside world into a single overall object. Coolen plays with our senses: with varied textures and different materials, she connects the visual and the tactile. Her work has won several awards in Belgium, France and the Netherlands, and is regularly exhibited at home and abroad.
European Ceramic Work Centre
Every year, around 60 artists spend three months at the EKWC, where they are given the opportunity to experiment with ceramics. The aim is to stimulate the development of ceramics in visual arts, design and architecture. In the search for new perspectives and techniques in ceramics, each year the Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics invites two artists to present the results of their residency at the EKWC. The German artist Markus Karstiess was the first. A total of 16 artists will display their work on the upper floor of the Princessehof as part of this exhibition series.