Part of the website has been translated in english. It has been limited to the most important data about the artist an her work, since we're convinced that the works can speak for themselves.

 

 

Elke Matthijs was born in Leuven, Belgium, in 1978. In 2001 she completed her study of sculpture at the Brussels Art School Sint-Lukas. She likes to express using different materials and various disciplines, although she considers herself a sculptress.

Her early sculptures are reproductions of cyclic themes, whereas her paintings and drawing were and still are principally inspired by daily situations. She was making big sculptures, mainly built of welded metal. ‘Woman’ and ‘protection’ played a central part in the artists work, which contained a constant strain between conscious and subconscious, simplicity and ambiguity, and between beauty and cruelty. She was using contrasting materials in a dialogue: wool or feathers embedded in welded metal. It was the expression of the remaining recollections of her residence in Rwanda as a teenager between 1990 and 1993.

Elke’s present work has been evolved through the incessant stacks of sketches about everyday events. Draughts get worked out in drawings and paintings and some of them are digested and repeated towards the essence of a cast sculpture. The main theme still centres women, women in relation with herself or her environment. One moment of an apparent banal situation enlarged and caught in bronze: the woman and her dogs elated with joy, people with lifted shoulders in endless rains, the agreeable sharing of a meal,…These are moments of deep connection with oneself, the other or nature. It is the expression of true emotions bursting out spontaneously. De sculptures make at once contact with the observer since these emotions evoke immediate recognition, consciously or unconsciously. One perceives a sensorial, nearly nostalgic connection with that what really matters in ones life: the intensity of being one with ones acts. The delicacy and perishableness of these dear moments is expressed sharply with the subtle water-thin use of the bronze.

 Elke: ‘I might say that making works of art is my never-ending passion. I use anything I carry to draw. Stacks of sketch-books are waiting to be elaborated to drawings or paintings. My hands always itch, I always feel like creating so I just have to get going. I often start making realistic sketches. The subjects of my inspiration are brought by the immediate surroundings. It is the things that touch me, stick and are meaningful to me. Next I transform the context, deviate, overdo shapes and proportions. Above all I try to catch the nature and the spirit of the subject.
I also aim a social commitment with my work. Especially the disturbed relationship between human and animal or human and nature, women’s emancipation and respect for the small are ever returning themes.
My pieces of art are layered and have multiple meanings. Therefore they are no bite-sized chunks to the observer. I have learned that a lot of people have the intension to understand the meaning of my works so I try to give them an appropriate title as a hint, although I still cherish the free interpretation of the observer. I think art should be mind-expanding. It ought to tear us away from routine and shallowness, it should move and confront us, awake us and excite us to live. It were to incite one to turn into an unknown walk. I always hope that my work will raise thoughts and emotions that can help the observer come closer to oneself.’