A group exhibition with Erin Helsen, Pascal Petrus, Yannick Val Gesto and Benny Van den Meulengracht-Vrancx

VIP shows the work of Erin Helsen, Pascal Petrus, Yannick Val Gesto and Benny Van den Meulengracht-Vrancx in a more relaxed atmosphere, where the coming together of these artists in Hole Of The Fox is the central theme. Each artist is showing newly created work, while there was room to experiment and to derive from known paths. The exhibition highlights a connection between these artists' body of work, which involves elements from their personal life, and a contemporary (almost corporate, industrial) aesthetic.

"A very important person (VIP) is a person who is accorded special privileges due to his or her status or importance.

Examples include celebrities, heads of state/heads of government and other politicians, major employers, high rollers, high-level corporate officers, wealthy individuals, or any other notable person who receives special treatment for any reason. The special treatment usually involves separation from "common people", and a higher level of comfort. In some cases, such as tickets to events, and at airports, VIP may be used as a title in a similar way to premium, and these "VIP tickets" can be purchased by anyone, but still meaning separation from other customers, own security checks etc...

VIP syndrome is when a perceived VIP uses his/her status to influence a given professional to make unorthodox decisions under the pressure or presence of the individual.

The phenomenon can occur in any profession that has relationships with wealthy, famous, and/or powerful clients or patients, particularly medical or airline professions". source: Wikipedia

- Erin Helsen
E VE R Y T H I N G S T A R T S W I T H I N Y O U R S E L F
I don't work in my atelier every day, there are working periods. During these periods I make small sculptures with collected materials. I never expose these sculptures. When I join a group expo I make an installation with new materials. Often the installation is inspired by those sculptures but I don't show the ones I made in my atelier. When I join a group expo I am taking a lot of finished and unfinished sculptures with me. While building the installation I decide which part can stay and which doesn't. Today Benny, Yannick and Pascal helped me decide. That was nice, because I think as an artist it is important to share random thoughts. There are a lot of random thoughts in my work. 'A few things I know about not knowing' is the title of the installation. Behind the corner of Hole of the fox there is a second hand shop where I bought a table. Beneath the table I made a pile with pieces of found ceiling. There is a pattern in the pile. The ceiling was lying in the basement of the MAGMA building. MAGMA is a platform that organizes happenings for young and less Young artists. Two sculptures made out of ceiling are on top of the table. I planted them in a pot. I made a digital drawing that was a design for a jewel. I never made the jewel. I did make a small sculpture, that could be a jewel. There are also three resembling small sculptures which are a reproduction of an object I found in my first atelier. The bottom piece of the sculpture is made out of a material which was also meant to be a jewel. The sculpture also could be a jewel. OKISOK KOSIKO

- Pascal Petrus
The art of Pascal Petrus is one of revelation, using daily communicational discomforts as an inspiration for his work ranging from prints, installations, sculpture to photography. Pascal examines the borders of privacy, identity and domination. At VIP, Pascal Petrus will show 'Agapornis', a handcrafted geometrical installation in wood, metal and paint. The work is the result of his research in corrupted media. Global news topics are filtered, reinterepreted, coloured and adapted to mould the viewer's opinion and form a platform for doubt, catastrophizing and paranoia. A mixture of parallel thoughts, contradictions and adapted repetitions turn the truth into a scale without gravity. With 'Agapornis' the artist visualises an iteration with an open end.

Pascal Petrus was born in St. Willebrord, The Netherlands. He currently lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. He's involved with PARK (BE) and has exhibited his work at Poppositions (BE) in Brussels, FLACC (BE) in Genk and Kunsthal Kade (NL) in Amersfoort.

- Benny Van den Meulengracht-Vrancx
The look of the other reveals that every appropriation of identity depends on the judgement of the other. Sartre states that "I" and my "consciousness" can never be the same, which means you will always be looking at yourself from the outside or through the other. Although, you can never completely know how you appear to others, so in fact the only thing you have as a representation of yourself is your silhouette in the mirror. It's the idea of role-play that gives meaning to Van den Meulengracht-Vrancx's work, the change of face in specific situations, the shattering of personalities and the embodying of a persona.

For VIP, Benny Van den Meulengracht-Vrancx created two large banners, called 'Tomoe' and 'Yinyang', portraying specific parts of his body in a very egocentric atmosphere. To him, the body is a customizable vessel, like an avatar you embody in a video game, the human body is the physical manifestation of the self. Tattoo's, scars, muscle tissue, manipulation of hair growth, all are customizable features and serve in order to create the unique image of you. The banners also question the issue of social media role models, buffed men and tightly trained women, who are setting a new physical standard, increasing the pressure on followers and fuelling insecurities, creating a beautifully curated illusion. 'Tomoe' and 'Yinyang' try to do the opposite and force you to look closely, hashtag no filter.

In general, he uses visual elements from Cosplay (Costume play), as well as gaming, Internet and Otaku culture.

Benny Van den Meulengracht-Vrancx (1989) lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. He's the owner and curator of Hole Of The Fox.

- Yannick Val Gesto
At it's core, Val Gesto's work is fueled by entertainment driven properties as well as basic human emotions, self-knowledge and information. It's the modern era's eclectism and exotism - spawned from our need to digitally share and explore - that define his body of work.

For this exhibition Val Gesto created 'Hybrid Hugger', a vibrant piece which consists out of a striking colorful 3D render. This work is part of an ongoing series of works that are based on found imagery, which the artist digitally translates into an abstractified, simplified version. Trying to capture and exaggerate the core appeal of the image's original form. 'Hybrid Hugger' was created by repeating a pattern which recycles an image into a new one, yet, a copy. This pattern refers to the process of creating fan-art, built up by reproducing existing imagery.

This work is accompanied by several pieces from the 'RED' series; 'A (Soul Protection)', 'B (Mikcey Surprise)' and 'C (Positive Thinking)'. To avoid a lack of focus, Val Gesto works in series where he applies a strict set of rules to the pieces involved. 'RED' is a perfect example of this methodical work ethic. The pieces are the embodiment of fortune cookie quote's and each feature the following: a quick sketch, typographical elements, an illustrative element, a small profile picture and nine red squares. All of these graphical elements are brought together as semi-transparent prints on brushed aluminum panels. From afar these works have a visually rabid and graffiti like feel - yet a closer look reveals the calculated nature of the vectorised graphics and how firmly composed they actually are.

'RED' combines elements of self-reflection and digital information taken directly from cyber culture and pseudo-science.

Yannick Val Gesto (1987) lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. He is represented by LevyDelval (BE) since 2013. He has exhibited his work at Gloria Knight Gallery (NZ) in Auckland, Higher Pictures Gallery (US) in New York and Nada Art Fair (ELP) (US) in New York.