Mark trees are trees that are planted at strategic locations in the landscape. They make visible certain transitions of national, community and property borders. Multiple administrations monitor the conservation of these trees. Governments are obliged by law to maintain, replant and protect them. In a changing geopolitical landscape, however, these trees often lose their function as cultural-historical bearers and merge into their environment as non-information.
Trees have been present on this planet for 370,000,000 years. They have fallen into invisibility because they are losing their function in the landscape to a new, fuller panorama of symbols and signs. Road-building, agriculture and urbanisation have a lot to do with this, but so do technological and industrial progress. Centuries ago, some trees functioned as visual elements in a landscape in order to orient ourselves.
For 'No Road to Hotel Bellevue’, Dries Segers takes a first step in designing alternative cartographies. He merges symbols, signs and words, and has them engraved with a laser-cut technique in the frames of his artworks. Since their development, humans have expressed themselves in simplified drawings and symbols. It is from the same need that Segers incorporates this graphic language into his work.
Photography is a medium that transforms reality on the basis of observation and technique. In the work of Dries Segers, perception (or its absence) has always been a central element. Since 2019 his technical experiments with sensory invisibility (light, time, chemical and technical reactions) have given way to making (in)visible living matter tangible. In the artist's book 'FUNGI', Segers brings his recurring play with scale and transformation to the surface. For 'No Road to Hotel Bellevue', the artist selected 25 photographs from his archive that form the roots of a speculative environment. What started out from observation and photographic truthfulness continues more as a suggestion of a reality that starts from the natural environment instead of humankind.
The visitor is invited to be patient. Hand sculptures are five wooden panels that fit into one hand. The gallerist can move the works for you to a place where UV light will generate the image. Carefully selected relics (which the photographer found in the vicinity of the mark trees) only become visible when the right situation occurs. On some days the image will not show itself. Seeds are macro shots from Segers' personal seed bank. They are produced in an infinite edition. The distribution and their ever renewable life refers primarily to the seeds themselves, but also to photography as the most reproducible medium par excellence.
No Road to Hotel Bellevue is a total installation of a natural world in which all works of art are interwoven as organisms until they can no longer be disentangled. This exhibition originates in the in-between space, the speculative space.
‘No Road to Hotel Bellevue' was realised in collaboration with woodworkers, digital studios, farmers, local residents and officials of the Department for Conservation and Heritage (Erfgoedcel) of the Flemish Government. The exhibition is a continuation of a first part shown in VITRINE gallery, Basel (CH) from February to June 2020, during the duo exhibition 'Our companion, our other'.
With thanks to Hannah De Meyer, Rik De Meyer, Nick Geboers, Koen Smets, Bas Van den Hout, Atelier Watt, Milo Profi and Screenprint atelier Gezeever