Sculptures that play with space
There are artists who, with their sculptures, rethink space, and there are artists who, with their sculptures, rethink sculpture. Henk Delabie does both, in an equally fluid motion, investing his works with elegance, accuracy and depth. His forms are unpredictable and erratic, and yet, they always make sense. The constructions, harmonious in themselves, connect with the surrounding space, and establish a relationship that is both inviting and inquiring. The space is drawn in and enclosed, enveloped and embraced.
A field of tension emerges, full of sculptural meaning, precisely there where there appears to be nothing. The in-between spaces are as much protagonists as the visible lineation. The sculptures act as mediators, generating, with a gentle, coercive touch, an interaction between the energetic core of a work – that from which the initiating power emerges – and that which is gradually evoked and brought to life in the perimeter surrounding it through the aesthetic, conceptual intervention. The blind spots, as it were; those that escape our gaze, because we are, first and foremost, seduced by that which is most ostentatious. Henk Delabie makes visible what is concealed, discreet and unmentionable. He leads the viewer to the side-roads of perception, while the original, tangible sculpture loses nothing of its power.
These recent creations by Henk Delabie form a kind of spatial canvas, consisting of two triptychs and a trestle. A very fragile work, a delicate framework in wood that whose hinge consists of a piece of canvas. An interesting reversal, since we are rather used to seeing things happening on the canvas. Yet here, the empty space is the protagonist, the empty space framed and constantly fluctuating according to the position of the spectator. The works are constructions that literally allow themselves to be unfolded in space, yet simultaneously also open up the space itself, in part through the shadow play they create. What does the visitor who walks around the works see? Does he or she dare to come closer or even step through them? Through his sculptures, Henk Delabie affects our experience of a place.