Kristof Van Gestel

An object or a tool? A shift in my practice as an artist

In this talk I will show a brief overview of my output as a visual artist since 2000. The main focus of the talk will be on the shift that took place in my practice from making objects and sculptures (as an autonomous artist) to evoking a shared experience with the viewer (more participative and experiential ways of working). Why did this shift occur? What type of objects did I produce? How did these objects deal with this shift?  What does it mean? I will claim that I would like to stop distinguishing  between artworks and (design)objects. For me both are tools to help us to deal with the world surrounding us. Very briefly introducing the theory of Stephen Wright I will focus on this shift (Wrigth, S. & Aikens, N. (2014). Stephen Wright. Towards a lexicon of Usership. Eindhoven: Van Abbe Museum.).

Kristof Van Gestel (*1976) is a visual artist and a teacher/researcher at School of Arts of University College Ghent. Since 1999 he produces sculptures, pictures and projects that focus on questioning and finding a place for art in the daily world.

For Van Gestel making art is a method to explore the wide range of different relations into which we as individuals enter in the world. This applies both for the artist as for the viewer. From this point of view, in his doctoral research project [2007-2013] he describes his art practice as a model for experience and reflection that can help to shape and to give meaning to life itself [2013, Mooi is nuttig. De kunstpraktijk als ervarings- en reflectiemodel, Gent: Aramer]. In line with his phd, he now works on a postdoctoral research project at School of Arts of University College Ghent in which he focuses on experiential learning. For this reason the platform ‘Knowing by Doing’ was founded. This platform provides opportunities for participatory and experiential art projects and workshops that Van Gestel sets up for a public starting from his own artistic practice.