Elen Braga, Harold Lechien, Daan Peeters, Mathieu Verhaeghe, Yasmine Willems
11 November – 23 December 2023

shaping narratives, dmw gallery, group exhibition, elen braga, mathieu verhaeghe, daan peeters, yasmine wilems, harold lechien

At its core, Shaping Narratives is an exploration of the language of art and how artworks communicate with each other. The artists, Mathieu Verhaeghe, Harold Lechien, Elen Braga, Yasmine Willems, and Daan Peeters, were selected due to their unique approaches to representing reality. Their individual chosen narratives are vibrant in their own way, interpreted through various mediums, including painting, sculpture and large-scale installations.

Art always tells a story, but these stories and the interpretation thereof do not exist in a vacuum; an artist reinterprets and translates their own reality by creating an artwork, a narrative. This narrative changes for every single viewer based on their own personal experiences, knowledge, and the context they see or place the work in. Setting two works side by side can influence the effect the individual artworks have on someone, by allowing – or even forcing – a viewer to connect the dots in any way they can. Shaping Narratives is an open invitation to unearth your wildest interpretations of the colourful and diverse collection of works the artists have assembled in one space.

Mathieu Verhaeghe’s (b. 1986) artistic practice has its roots in painting but has evolved into a multidisciplinary practice with conceptual and performative aspects, often focusing on actions of the artist. Mathieu explores the tension between existential gravity and frivolous relativity. His work presents itself as an artist’s reflection on himself, artistic practices and the status of the art object.

Harold Lechien (b. 1995) is a multidisciplinary artist. Through sculpture or through the prism of new media, Lechien strives to distort commercial goods, promotional logic and the language that accompanies them. Regularly exhibited in Belgium and abroad since 2018, his work takes a singular look at the circulation of emotions that emerge from the production and affective reception of images and industrial products. Halfway between design and commercial scenography, his work is deployed through the object, image and video within polymorphous and modular installations, where marketing strategy and contemporary creation meet.

Elen Braga (b. 1984) is a multimedia artist. Interested in issues related to the self, she researches themes such as strength, ambition and resilience. Her practice often involves self- imposed tasks, as well as intense labour-requiring endeavours. She delves into mythological narratives, revisiting them to examine the ways in which they survive in contemporary behaviour and beliefs.

In the paintings of Yasmine Willems (b. 1985), the landscape as a subject occupies the spotlight. She is inspired by the polder landscapes around her and the hidden, mystical power she discovers in them. Her paintings reveal a personal language, in which elements such as rain, wind and light-soaked clouds take tangible forms to explore the boundary between visible and supersensory reality. Willems’ compositions reflect a holistic perspective on the landscape and the interconnectedness of all things.

Daan Peeters (b. 1999) is an artist who combines sculpture, research and writing. Fascinated by how narratives operate and have been told over time, he investigates how objects can become detached from their original context, how they survive in their new framework and how their structures can be disrupted. Objects find themselves forced into rational linguistic categories, causing their healing agency to fade amidst a clash of conflicting ideas. The multifaceted nature of these (art) objects transforms them into intricate entities that Peeters tries to unravel in his practice. Just as a body is intricately connected to a web of relationships, it never exists in isolation.