Yasser Ballemans / The Next Parade
In the text ‘Manifestation’ by the Dutch writer and curator Freek Lomme, the author describes Yasser Ballemans’ sculptures as “Disrupted manifestations of reality”. They are like an ‘Undefined imagination’.
And the definition of the word manifestations is certainly interesting to keep in mind when you look at Ballemans’ sculptures: as Lomme writes, the word refers to both an expression of a view – and a concrete, physical form.
And yes, you can see Ballemans’ sculptures like manifestations in the landscape – or in this case - the room. But the fact is that the material also means – almost - everything. And in this case, the material and the construction form a subtle contrast to the definition of the word manifestations. The ceramic structure makes the sculptures look solid and delicate at the same time.
The manifestations have transformed into something both permanent and fragile. The sculptures have a certain distinctive antithesis - and they contain what one can call a built-in temporality due to the medium and the context. And not least due to the construction they have – build up by several smaller clay parts – bringing in memories of cardboard figures and paper cutting.
Which objects do Yasser Ballemans presents to us in this parade – this carnival of figures? One can say that they do have some kind of recognizability – like objects we can somehow recognize from our surroundings. But some of them are also from a world elsewhere, something foreign and strange. They are withdrawn from context – but at the same time linked to each other, because they are all part of the same parade.
In their geometric expression we see that some parts are missing, and they do not have those forms, we expect from them. This is the reason why they are also both intriguing and demanding to look at – imaginative, humoristic, uplifting and surprising at the same time.
These gestalts - these abrupt figures - form a parade, a carnival, in which they are part of something bigger. They are the parade; they become the carnival – as a sculptural and cultural manifestation. Like humans forms a quantity, when we walk in the streets together in a parade. They become a new imaginative reality in the moment.
The size of Yasser Ballemans’ ceramic sculptures holds a story in itself. Some of them taller than a grown-up man, the size makes them seem even more fragile – and the solidness more overwhelming. They lean over us and provide associations on a world, a room, a temporary society. They are continuously open to interpretation. – And the size has en enormous impact on our perception of them.
Yasser Ballemans are inspired by buildings – but not ordinary architecture. He is especially inspired by the absurdness of something which is build only as a festive building – like the firework theatre in Hague from mid-17th century.
They are manifestations in the public space - Buildings as manifestations of the role of art in society, as Yasser says himself. And in the same way his sculptures have a somehow absurd presence: they are playful and challenging, and they demonstrate a significant complexity. Their aesthetics live in our understanding of them in the context.
Since ultimo August Yasser has been working in the ceramic workshop at the Danish Art Workshops. During his residency he has showed and admirable systematic way of working – which is almost obvious, when you look at the sculptures now. They are the result of a laborious and careful process – but also a process influenced by humor and a way of seeing new possibilities in the material.
The result is to be seen as a distinct new expression in the material. The material provides a special exposure of the language of the artist. The ceramic material complements Yasser Ballemans’ expression and workflow – and new stories are brought to his work through the material.
It is logical to present Yasser Ballemans’ sculptures in this exact place. Copenhagen Ceramics has an exceptional position in the Danish art scene. The place is an exponent for the innovative and experimental way of looking at ceramic as an artistic expression – which is obvious when you take a look at the list of exhibiting artists.
Furthermore it is driven by three prominent Danish ceramic artists; Steen Ipsen, Bente Skjøttgaard and Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl. They have put a lot of time and effort into this exhibition place - in a time where it is not easy at all to operate a gallery. It testifies a huge amount of engagement and passion.
This is a place to be proud of – in Denmark as well as worldwide. I’m very pleased to see Yasser Ballemans’ impressive sculptures in these surroundings!
Director at The National Workshops for Arts