Drawings in space, Sam Steverlynck, 2012
Drawings in space. That is what Ghent-based artist Johan Gelper calls his spatial sculptures. This is a fitting description because his works are characterized by an interplay of lines that is highly pictorial. For example, at Ricou Gallery he is showing the frame of a chair that transforms into looping fiberglass tubes. The whole construction is clamped to a few heavy stones that keep it upright. It is a strange new take on the classical pedestal. In his work, Gelper reflects on the elements of sculpture - materials, balance, composition - providing an interesting contribution to the medium. He defies laws of gravity in other works as well. For example, a large rake is held upright by a cable that runs on as an extension. Gelper frequently uses inextricable loops whose similarity to tentacles is by no means coincidental. In this exhibition, the botanical and mechanical worlds are perfectly harmonious. A constellation of sections of yellow plastic tubes covered in cable ties bears similarities to an amoeba or sea urchin. The artist combines this interest in biomorphic forms with mechanical components in other works too. His sculptures are supplemented by a series of drawings, in which Gelper reconciles elements of technical subjects and botanical pictures from encyclopedias. In a number of cases, he has drawn a series of lines with other things glued in between, like a collage.
In both his sculptures and drawings, Gelper successfully brings together two different worlds, forming a new entity. He is not, however, just another assemblage artist, but convinces the viewer with his interesting and coherent choice of materials and playful lines. _Sam Steverlynck © Agenda