Isabelle Derecque is a belgium artist and one of the artists participating in the Affordable Art Fair in Brussels. Her paintings have been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Her choice to primarily work with Plexiglas is more than just an aesthetic decision. For Isabelle, it is an invitation to explore the space around us by projecting us into a new, malleable, dimension which can be altered and moved according to our own desires. Change and evolution are intrinsic parts of her artistic expression.
We spoke with Isabelle about her artistic influences and her background.
How did you know you wanted to be an artist?
To tell the truth, I never really “dreamed” of being an artist. My dream was to be a designer.
I never drew well, and painted even worse, but I could imagine, create and build objects and give them a function. The revelation came when I was studying architecture and design. I started by assembling materials that I liked, such as mirrored plexiglass, vinyl, gold leaf, and without me realizing it, they turned into paintings. I think at the time I was disappointed because I would have preferred them to turn into a chair… But here we are!
Fortunately everything can be learned, I don’t have a gift, I just have a fundamental need to create and I have worked a lot.
Can you tell us about your artistic influences and other artists who inspire you?
The artist I have always loved most of all is Olafur Eliasson. His works relate time, light, nature and the dimension in which everything is found. I am literally dazzled by his work, it fascinates me and gives me goosebumps! It may not have influenced my work as such, but it certainly shaped my sensibilities. Otherwise, in my top 5, there areSol LeWitt, Nan Goldin, Anish Kapoor, Miro, and music, especially Rock and Roll…
How would you describe the concept behind your work?
I started by making paintings on mirrored Plexiglas. I found it very interesting because the geometrical shapes I placed on the surface seemed like they were levitating. Whether it was the form represented, or the uncovered space of the mirror, both attracted me. In April 2020, during the first lockdown, we all craved travel and escape. So I went from black and white to vivid color, and from abstract to figurative. Each painting is the beginning of a somewhat strange story, in an imaginary place or a place I know, with some kind of plot, irony or mysterious object.
What is your favorite subject to paint and why?
Surrealism, for the mysterious side and also because I’m Belgian and we’re pretty good at it!
What message or emotions do you wish to convey through your paintings?
Escape, of course, but also a call to imaginatiion. The reflections produced by the unpainted areas of the painting (mirror), bring it to life, so even if the themes are often empty places, the reflections and the movements give the impression of a presence. Without knowing where we are or what is going to happen, we find ourselves in mysteriously coloured places. Calm and serene spaces that seem lost in time and devoid of life. Then a movement is created and the mirrored areas start to animate the painting thanks to the reflections of the light. These cheerful and energetic colours reassure us in this unknown journey.
Can you tell us about a project you are currently working on?
I wrote and illustrated a children’s book about art. It’s called “Les Bloux”. It’s the story of a sibling, illustrated in the form of shapes, who discovers the great names in the history of art through little adventures. The first volume takes place in NYC and I’m going to launch the sequel which will take place in Paris. In my plans, I would have to find the time to look for a publisher. Otherwise, on a more artistic note, I’m thinking of sculpture, but it won’t be for a while.
Are there other artists presented on SINGULART whose work you like?
Oh yes, there are really ways to stroll around SINGULART and discover wonders! (The site is extremely well done) I love Gordon Hopkins, Hugo Pondz, Rie Kono, and Olivier Lamboray (with whom I have already exhibited).
What advice would you give to young artists starting out?
I would tell them to follow their instincts, to travel, to watch old movies, to listen to good music, to buy a good camera, to dare to walk through the doors of galleries that sometimes seem a bit exclusive, and from time to time, to sit down in front of a blank sheet of paper and let it happen…
Thank you to Isabelle for taking the time to answer our questions!