Dirk Zoete at S.M.A.K.

Artist: Dirk Zoete

Exhibition title: To be determined. According to the situation

Venue: S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium

Date: March 10 – June 4, 2017

Photography: Dirk Pauwels, all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and S.M.A.K.

To be determined. According to the situation is Dirk Zoete’s first major solo exhibition in a Belgian museum. He is showing new and recent work in a varying display that is midway between an exhibition and a temporary artist’s studio.

Dirk Zoete’s work encompasses several disciplines for each of which the foundation is drawing. On the basis of drawings he develops models, installations, sculptures, architectural constructions, photos and films. These creations often turn up again in new drawings, provide a basis for a fresh direction in pencil or spark off yet another project.

In this process of continuous creation, Dirk Zoete takes a lead from his imagination. His drawings follow his hand, which records what drives him, consciously and unconsciously. It yields highly individual visual compositions that are closely related to the artist. This impulse reverberates throughout his work, which to the artist represents above all an alter ego.

Dirk Zoete stages his imagination. He presents his conceptual models concerning man and the world on platforms and in stage sets that form part of his work. He directs variable scenes with a slightly absurd company of characters, animals and their props. In both his drawings and his spatial works, the emphasis is on the surface: the figures are flat and schematic and populate frontal spaces. Their identity is changeable and not tied to time or space. They function as the signs in Zoete’s playful artistic language.

The form of Dirk Zoete’s spaces and characters is reminiscent of the revolutionary stage sets and costumes of the German Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism. Their abstraction of concrete objects and figures to form dynamic sets of geometric planes can also be found in Zoete’s work. His rebellion is gentler, however, and his figures have a more human, almost melancholy side. In this sense they are closer to the later portraits of farmers by the painter Kazimir Malevich. This is no coincidence, as Zoete is from a farming family, is familiar with the farming occupation and has witnessed its decline from close up. It is part of his life story and is intimated in his creations in the form of visual references, but also literally in his choice of materials.

At S.M.A.K. Dirk Zoete is showing drawings, masks and sculptures. He is creating a studio set-up with characters at various stages of completion and a changing presentation of objects on a large set of archive shelving. The exhibition evolves, developing in the same way as a performance. In this sense it is comparable to the photo sessions the artist does with masked models who dance and adopt poses inspired by the situation, the form of their costumes and the nature of their props.

Dirk Zoete (1969, Roeselare) lives and works in Ghent. He regularly exhibits in Belgium and abroad, but also remains actively involved in Flanders’ experimental artist’s workspaces such as Croxhapox, the multidisciplinary workspace for contemporary art in Ghent, where he held his first exhibition.

Dirk Zoete, To be determined. According to the situation, 2017, installation view, S.M.A.K.

Dirk Zoete, To be determined. According to the situation, 2017, installation view, S.M.A.K.

Dirk Zoete, Wardrobe figure, 2016-2017, Installation S.M.A.K. 2017

Dirk Zoete, Fragmented body (one of many),  2016-17, Installation S.M.A.K. 2017

Dirk Zoete, To be determined. According to the situation, 2017, installation view, S.M.A.K.

Dirk Zoete, To be determined. According to the situation, 2017, installation view, S.M.A.K.

Dirk Zoete, To be determined. According to the situation, 2017, installation view, S.M.A.K.

Dirk Zoete, Manure figure (male), 2016-2017, Manure figure (female), 2016-2017, Installation S.M.A.K. 2017

Dirk Zoete, Storage facility for studio movements, 2015-2017, Installation S.M.A.K.

Dirk Zoete, To be determined. According to the situation, 2017, installation view, S.M.A.K.

Dirk Zoete, To be determined. According to the situation, 2017, installation view, S.M.A.K.

Dirk Zoete, To be determined. According to the situation, 2017, installation view, S.M.A.K.

Dirk Zoete, To be determined. According to the situation, 2017, installation view, S.M.A.K.

Dirk Zoete, To be determined. According to the situation, 2017, installation view, S.M.A.K.

Dirk Zoete, Ark finally 2011, Installation S.M.A.K. 2017

Dirk Zoete, Smart dress or textile sculpture, 2016

Dirk Zoete, Untitled, 2016, De zaagdeur, 2017, Installation S.M.A.K. 2017

Dirk Zoete, Untitled 2016, Installation S.M.A.K. 2017

Dirk Zoete, Untitled, 2016

Dirk Zoete, Untitled, 2016

Dirk Zoete, Simple souls or Temporary people, 2017

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