Young Artists (Selected By), Mieke Mels, 2007
Johan Gelper does drawings, sculptures and installations that express a fascination for nature and the biomorphic movements of its growth processes. But the process of abstract scientific construction is also part of his work. His intention is to study the ambiguity of handmade objects on the basis of both natural and manufactured things. For Johan Gelper, drawing is a way of thinking, a way of giving physical dimensions to his ideas. The drawings are a study of organic growth and probe the boundary between 'intuitive' drawing and 'construction'.
This artist also sees 'spatial' works as a way of drawing. Drawing in space, as if the line ran off the page to form a sculpture in space. Johan Gelper uses such materials as insignificant objects like a glove, a branch, pieces of plastic, parts of cars he has found, seats, and packaging materials. In Young Artists 2007 he shows a sculpture that enters into dialogue with the surrounding space. He has constructed a greenhouse out of recycled Perspex. The roof is perforated with holes. In this way Gelper examines the influence the object and space have on each other. As a sculpture, the greenhouse 'occupies' the space, but also 'gives' it space. the spectator is invited to project himself into this new space. Starting from the sculpture Johan Gelper draws upwards and outwards the Palmarium*. *The Palmarium is a greenhouse in the Ghent University Botanical Garden (www.plantentuin.ugent.be) _Mieke Mels