Christoph Fink - Photo R.Pacquée

Vortex der Heerlijkheid, portret van een stad
Shown in Mechelen, 21/03 - 21/06

Around and across Mechelen, turned inside out through observations, walking from my studio into the city, wrestling with archives, and seen through the international buzz of world affairs, slowly but surely a sculpture will emerge. An experiment, a work-in-progress that will reach maturity over the last weekend of the city festival.
‘Songlines’ are a concept used in Aboriginal cosmology that, by means of ritual storytelling, gave meaning to their lives and environment. Inspired by this concept, I am seeking to approach the city of Mechelen from our contemporary context but within a historical setting. This research is part of my entire oeuvre, all my research trips and my ongoing archival work into world events will shimmer through in this work.
'Vortex der heerlijkheid' [‘A vortex of (lordly) bliss’]. A ‘vortex’ is a whirling movement: it brings to mind a dynamic structure, a revolving figure that contains the rush of thoughts and the impossibility of grasping reality. The term ‘heerlijkheid’ comes from one of the earlier city titles that brought with it privileges. It is now an ambiguous word [“heerlijkheid” can mean both “bliss” and “estate, domain”], and this shift in meaning inspired me. The title expresses the field of tension in which I wish to work.
With Stadsvisioenen (City Visions), we are celebrating the 450th anniversary of the archbishopric of Mechelen-Brussels. As an instrument of power, the church used to impose itself on us as the omniscient exegete. But art can be a search for other, more profound existential experiences. In my opinion, religion has had its moment, since the answers it gave were most bizarre. Art gives us the possibility of dealing with doubt, and the courage to look the unknown in the eye. It makes life so much more pleasant and intense. It is this freedom of thought, this sense of emancipation that is so specific to mankind, that drives me in my work.

Met dank aan/Thanks to: Joëlle Tuerlinckx, Dieter Viane en het personeel van het Stadsarchief Mechelen & the staff of the Archives of Mechelen, Nick Vanhaute de torenwachter/towerkeeper, Bart Stroobants, Filip Peeters (Wolec), B&M, Els Dietvorst, Sophie Van Stratum, Anne Deroeck, Suchan Kinochita, Hassan Darsi, Johanna Kirsch, Orla Barry, Marjolijn Dijkman, Luk Mishalle, NASA, de 11 januari betogers in Brussel/the demonstratiors in Brussels on January 11; de inwoners en passanten op mijn weg van, in en naar Mechelen/the inhabitants of Mechelen and the passers-by I met on my way to and in the city; alsook zij die mijn weg kruisten in/and all those whose paths crossed mine in Ramallah, Jeruzalem, Nablus en Hebron,etc