What does the ideal studio look like? How much time does an artist spend in his studio? Is it a sacred place? This week in 'The Artist’s Studio' series: Koen Delaere, whose exhibition '390 Degrees of Stimulated Stereo' can be seen at Galerie Gerhard Hofland until 27 August.
Do you visit your studio every day?
I have a rather project-based approach to series of paintings. So, there are periods when I am in my studio every day and periods when I am not there much. I'm quite obsessive, so that's how I keep my balance and I also have time to read, travel and do a lot of research. I don't have strict rules, however, as there are also periods when I am in my studio every day. It also depends a lot on exhibitions that have to be prepared, works that have to be prepared for transport. I am now preparing an exhibition for Fox Jensen McCrory Gallery in New Zealand. The work is finished and must now be boxed for transport. And I have work in preparation for an exhibition in Japan. At times, these practicalities also determine the rhythm.
Atelier La Brea Los Angeles 2016
What time do you leave for your studio, and how: on foot, by bicycle, public transport or car?
My working day starts at 08:30 a.m. and I prefer to walk to my studio. Depending on the route, I walk for twenty-five to forty-five minutes. My studio is on the other side of the centre of Tilburg.
Do you hold on to certain rituals in your studio? Music or silence?
Music is important to get in the mood. It already starts at home at breakfast: I've been listening to a lot of Bill Orcutt ('Odds Against Tomorrow' and 'Made out of Sound') and bands like 75 Dollar Bill lately, especially the LPs 'I Was Real' and ‘Wood/Metal/Plastic/Pattern/Rhythm/Rock’. In the studio I've been listening to a lot of old Sonic Youth records lately, especially 'Bad Moon Rising' and 'Day Dream Nation', and to Fennesz, the records 'Agora' and the 'Mahler remixes'. When I am working I usually have music on, but it's not necessary if I'm in the right flow, then I don't hear it anyway. Music excludes the other sounds and also acts as a clock. When I've heard a certain playlist or CD a number of times, I know how long I've been working.
I always work in the studio in the morning, after that I check my email, I do other things. My concentration is highest in the morning: breakfast, no radio, no newspaper or internet, walking for half an hour and starting right away is best.
Studio La Brea Los Angeles 2016
Hoe belangrijk is licht voor u?
I have a skylight installed in my studio and work with daylight. In my experience, daylight retains my energy for a longer period of time. Prior to my current studio, I had a large studio in a former youth centre with a bar in it, where I also had bands perform. That was a very dark studio, so I worked there with fluorescent lighting. Electric light flashes at a certain frequency; the brain compensates for that, so you don't see it, but I think you notice it, that's why I prefer daylight but it's not determinative.
What does your work process look like? Do you work everywhere and all the time or does work only commence the moment you enter your studio?
It continues in my head, but of course it is in the studio where it really happens. I want to be in the moment, in the work itself, and seeing where that can take one: impulsiveness, improvisation, intuition and not knowing exactly what is going to happen is much more important, and I want to maximize that during the work.
But of course there is a lot to precede. I do determine a course, devise a structure that I follow, do a lot of research in advance, substantive and material, determine the formats, etc.
Atelier Abu Dhabi 2017
How much time do you spend on average per day in your studio?
That ranges from 25 to 50 hours a week.
Is your studio a sacred place?
First and foremost it’s a practical space where the things I want to do can also happen. It is a condition to perform work. I have had temporary studios and residencies in various places – in LA, NY, Curaçao, São Paulo – and with the right concentration and mindset I can work anywhere.
Studio Andratx Mallorca 2017
Do you receive visits there; collectors, curators or fellow artists?
In general, I receive few visitors, only when the work is finished do I find it interesting to invite people. In recent years, studio visits are often digital due to international exhibitions and also due to COVID.
I do have a few good friends who visit regularly, but I only do that when I am totally convinced of the result myself. I want to resolve all doubts and uncertainties myself, and I prefer not to have any influence from outside.
Studio Carré Tilburg 2018
What is the most beautiful studio you have ever seen?
Jeroen Doorenweerd has just built himself a beautiful studio and a few weeks back I visited Marc Mulders, who also has a beautiful studio - both studios have a beautiful large garden.
I visited Jackson Pollock's studio, he also had a nice place out of town. I also think of images of Edvard Munch on the beach, or in his roofless studio. And there's a movie about Julian Schnabel working outdoors, in a stripped-down beach house. Something like that would be ideal, allowing you can also work outside.
My studio is great for working, the ideal studio does not exist. I had a beautiful studio in Den Helder via the Mondriaan Fund, a beautiful industrial space in a dune area. But honestly, I didn't do my best work there. My current studio is a kind of cell; no windows, 1 door, a skylight, the work is going well there. The ideal studio is the space in your head, the right mindset and motivation. Perhaps the ideal studio is the music I listen to, the spaciousness, the energy and the physical motivation I find in it.
Work in progress Park Tilburg 2018
What does the ideal studio look like?
A few years ago, I was invited by Lorenzo Benedetti to do a project at the Vleeshal in Middelburg. The museum was a studio and living space for a week; we cooked there – oysters that we had just taken from the sea ourselves – and ate with friends, in the evenings there were bands and there were movie nights. We did yoga there and went to the sea for a swim. After that week there was the exhibition, with works made. Benedetti compared it to the painting 'L'Atelier du peintre' by Gustave Courbet, and I was very much reminded of the painting 'St Jerome in His Study' by the Renaissance painter Antonello da Messini. It depicts Saint Jerome sitting in his studio when a lion walks in. The lion pulls a thorn from his leg. Perhaps that is the ideal studio: where a lion can walk inside.
Studio Carré Tilburg 2022