Stijn Ank, Phoenix, 2022
The work of Stijn Ank (b. 1977 in Belgium, lives and works between Brussels, Rome and Berlin) reflects his in-depth research on the relationships between matter and emptiness, and on the different ways in which contemporary sculpture is defined in relation to the space that surrounds it. After demarcating the limits of a given space, the artist creates moulds from materials such as wood, aluminium, rubber or clay, which are then used to make plaster casts. During the moulding process, he mixes pigments into the liquid plaster to lend it its final appearance. The works thus produced are both fragile and robust, delicate and solid, light as feathers and heavy as lead. For the artist, his works are not simply sculptures positioned in space, but “attitudes” or “subjects” that exist outside of space itself. They do not refer to any reality, nor to their own status as objects, but are defined according to their constantly changing relationships with the viewer and space.
The phoenix, an immortal bird, which regularly regenerates or is reborn in other forms, regains life by rising from the ashes of its predecessor. In some legends it is consumed by flames, in others it simply decays before being reborn. With his recent sculptures, the artist intensifies his work in situ. More than ever, his works bear the mark of the production process. All are imbued with an overflowing and wild energy where poetry and reason come together. The often temporary nature of site-specific works makes us aware of the fact that they offer us a real experience that is not about to be reproduced as it is in reality.
With the support of with Michael Janssen, Berlin and the City of Luxembourg