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Wouter Huis is een Nederlandse multimedia kunstenaar geboren in Oosterbroek in 1974. Hij woont en werkt momenteel in Heerlen. Huis richt zich op het verkennen van de grenzen en dimensies van mentale en architecturale ruimtes en vervaagt de grenzen tussen privé en publieke domeinen, en realiteit en fictie. Hij focust zich op ogenschijnlijk onbeduidende details, zoals de hoek van een kamer of de ambiguïteit van zwart materiaal.

Huis creëert minimal objecten, interactieve video-installaties, foto’s, (performatieve) screenings en intervenieert in tentoonstellingen en openbare ruimtes. Door zich te richten op kleine, objectieve veranderingen in de ruimte, daagt hij onze bewuste en onbewuste methoden van categorisatie, representatie, projectie, inversie, contradictie, toeval en literaliteit uit.

Huis heeft internationaal geëxposeerd in steden als Brussel, Amsterdam, Berlijn, New York, Stockholm, Athene en Heerlen. Hij gebruikt voornamelijk video als medium en richt zich op het regisseren van onze blik naar de aspecten van de architectuur om ons heen die normaal gesproken over het hoofd worden gezien.

In zijn werk brengt hij ook het medium zelf aan bod. Zo heeft hij tijdens Glocal Affairs (Maastricht, 2008) bijvoorbeeld een “illegaal” titelkaartje naast een stuk muur geplaatst dat al deels in wit en grijs was geschilderd. Hierdoor ontstonden twee instant, ready-made monochrome schilderijen door een parasiterende kunstenaar, die iets uit niets creëerde.

Een ander project, “Performance #1” (2011), bestond uit een lege garagebox die voor de duur van het evenement werd omgebouwd tot een bioscoop. Het publiek werd uitgenodigd om te gaan zitten en keek naar een elektrische deur die op een gegeven moment werd geopend om een uitzicht op een ogenschijnlijk oninteressante straat te onthullen. Deze straat en de weinige actie erin werden zo zowel een scherm als een nieuwe ruimte. Op dezelfde manier werden de mensen binnen deelnemers aan een vreemde en stille performance. Het is precies deze staat tussen iets en niets die Huis lijkt te fascineren.

In het werk ‘Zonder Titel (werktitel: het lampenrek)’ (2021) wordt een transportrek met een verzameling theaterlampen gereconstrueerd. Deze lampen zijn aangesloten op een lichtpaneel dat wordt aangestuurd door een programma met gangbare standen in theatervoorstellingen. Door het rek uit zijn context te halen en de spots in opslagstand te hangen, benadrukt Huis het theatrale karakter van de omgeving en transformeert hij deze tot een decor voor een voorstelling. Het werk is geplaatst in de lobby van het hotel in aanbouw in het Maankwartier, waar het fungeert als een kunstzinnige toevoeging aan de ruimte.

foto: Romy Finke


 

Wouter Huis (Oosterbroek, the Netherlands; 1974) is a multimedia artist who currently lives and works in Heerlen.

In his works, Huis shifts the limits and scope of mental and architectural space, the borders of private and public space, the real and the fictive; and by doing so, he delves into the elusiveness of almost-invisible ‘random’ details, such as the ´touchy´ pairing of corners or the ambiguity of black matter. Huis creates minimal objects, interactive (video) installations, photographs and (performative) screenings, and he makes interventions in exhibitions and public spaces. He questions (un)conscious methods of categorizations, (re)presentations, projections, inversions, contradictions, coincidences and literality shifting by focussing on small and (so-called) objective changes in space. Huis has shown works internationally (Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, Stockholm, Athens, Heerlen, etcetera).

As an extension to his practice, Huis founded Greylight Projects a platform dedicated to artistic research,  the production and presentation of  art projects. In 2013, Greylight Projects expanded with a branch in a former convent in Brussels where in addition to an exhibition space, a chapel for performances and eighteen studios are located. And since 2021, Greylight Projects is based in a former school building in Heerlen.

 


Six question for Wouter Huis
How do you describe your own art practice?

In my art practice, I engage in a multidisciplinary exploration, navigating the intersection of space, perception, and the intricate relationship between art and the environment. By isolating and accentuating seemingly inconspicuous details within architectural landscapes, I invite viewers to perceive their surroundings differently, fostering an awareness of the inherent complexity and beauty woven into the fabric of the ordinary.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

The central theme in my work revolves around redefining our perception of space and exploring the often-overlooked intricacies within our surroundings. I am particularly fascinated by the intersection of technology and human experience, prompting a continuous inquiry into the evolving relationship between the tangible and the ephemeral.

What was your first experience with art?

My earliest immersion in art occurred during a visit to a museum, where the details of the space—from the intricacies of the flooring to the arrangement of plinths—played a pivotal role in shaping my perception. The museum’s nuanced techniques of presentation became a guiding influence, propelling me into a lifelong journey of multidisciplinary exploration within the expansive realm of artistic expression.

During that museum visit, I found myself questioning the boundaries between the real and the crafted, contemplating whether the details before me were an authentic representation or a meticulously constructed perception. This inquiry sparked a profound curiosity that continues to drive my multidisciplinary exploration within the diverse landscape of artistic expression.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

My greatest wellspring of inspiration stems from the interplay between mundane details and the broader tapestry of our surroundings. Exploring the subtle nuances within the ordinary serves as a perpetual source, unraveling the rich complexities woven into the fabric of daily life.

What do you need in order to create your work?

Creating my work requires a delicate balance of solitude and engagement with varied environments, allowing me to absorb the often-overlooked intricacies. My essential tools are the interplay of technology and traditional mediums, facilitating the translation of these observations into a multidimensional exploration of space and perception.

In the process of creating, I find value in tumbling onto unexpected situations, maintaining an acute awareness for the random events that might unfold. This attunement to happenstance enriches my work, infusing it with the spontaneity and unpredictability inherent in the tapestry of life.


Exhibitions / presentations:

2019 Le Petit Cercle Bruxellois, A.VE.NU.DE.JET.TE – INSTITUT DE CARTON, Brussels (group)
2019 Er is hoop (#Heerlen), commisioned by Kantoor Contour / Dear Hunter (solo / public space)
2018 ”, ”, ”, — Footnotes, WIELS | Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels (group)
2017 CARTE BLANCHE, Salon du Salon, Marseille (group)
2017 The Others Arfair, Greylight Projects, Torino (artfair)
2017 Pulse#17 / Arnhem (nl) (group)
2017 Cet Obscur Objet du Désir, Cas-Co Leuven (solo)
2016 BORG biennial, Antwerp (group)
2016 La Nuit de l’Instant, Marseille (group)
2016 Current Residents and associates, Greylight Projects (studio presentation)
2016 P(ART)cours, Woluwe parc / Brussels (group / public space)
2015 Festival Internacional de Arte Camuflado edición Madrid (group)
2015 Screening Dry Run a portrait of a studio, VideoPower, Maastricht (screening)
2015 Family Matters, De La Charge, Brussels (group)
2015 Welcome to the other side, Red Hook / Brooklyn / New York (public space)
2015 Dry Run, a portrait of a studio / broadcast on L1 television (screening)
2015 Plattenbau revised, TAC, Einhoven (collaboration)
2015 IMAGINATION RARELY ESCAPES ITS FIRST EDITION, Frans Masereel Centrum, Kasterlee (fair / group)
2014 Meet the Maker, Bureau Europa, Maastricht (presentation / talk)
2014 Dresden Public Art (group)
2014 Posset(s), Greylight Projects (group)
2014 What Remains, ZSenne art lab / Frans Masereel Centrum (solo)
2014 Welcome to the other side, commisioned by Schunck* Heerlen (public space)
2014 Residency, Frans Masereel Centrum (residency)
2014 Residency, Imal, brussel (residency)
2013 Acts of présence, Imal, Brussel (group)
2013 Popposition Off-fair, Brussel (group)
2013 Donkervonk, Hasselt, Belgium (group)
2012 Terms & Conditions, Leerling Meester project, Kunstpodium T, Tilburg (group)
2012 Secret Postcards, Maastricht (group)
2012 I have a story to tell you, Paradise Lost Festival, Brussels (collaboration)
2012 Almost Cinema Festival, Ghent (group)
2012 Modus Opperandi, Heerlen (public space)
2012 You are not here, Beelden op het Vrijthof, Maastricht (group)
2012 Die Vier, WELTECHO Gallery, Chemnitz (group)
2012 Contemporary Incidental / Accumulation of Particles IV, Lokaal 01, Breda (group)
2012 Contemporary Incidental / Accumulation of Particles III, Lokaal 01, Breda (group)
2012 Contemporary Incidental / Accumulation of Particles II, Lokaal 01, Breda (group)
2012 Sonic Masters (H)ear, Heerlen (group)
2012 Supermarket Stockholm (fair)
2012 Mobi.tmp NP3, Groningen (group)
2012 Re: Artfair, Rotterdam (fair)
2012 For Real program at the International Film Festival, Rotterdam (performance / public space)
2011 Nightlight at Greylight Projects, Hoensbroek (group)
2011 Allmost Cinema Festival, Ghent (group)
2011 The Garden, Makershuis, Den Bosch (residence / solo)
2011 Memory of a space at QO-2, Brussels (solo)
2011 TestLab at V2, Rotterdam (group)
2011 Reclaiming Public Space / Summercamp Electrified at Timelab,Ghent (residence & presentation)
2011 TransGradExhib, Transmedia exhibition, Brussels (group)
2011 Le Double, Brussels (group)
2011 Some Space Left exhibition, Brussels  (group)
2011 Plaats Delict, public space Heerlen (public space)
2011 Garage L’Olivier, Brussels (group)
2010 The anarchy of silence (John Cage), Schunck* ,Heerlen (group)
2010 Meeting Istanbul, Technical University Istanbul (group)
2010 Dreaming of a point at which parallel lines converge, Le Bras, Brussels (group)
2010 The Academy Strikes Back, Sint Lukas Gallery, Brussels (group)
2009 Passing Time, Schutterspark, Brunssum (group)
2009 Carte Blance, Roepean, Ottersum (group)
2009 Sifres, Greylight Projects, Hoensbroek (group)
2009 MeetFactory, Prague (residence & solo)
2008 What is art without you, HEDAH, Maastricht (solo)
2008 Panic Room, KuS, Heerlen (residence & solo)
2008 SkyBox, Amsterdam (solo)
2007 Supermarket Art Fair, Stockholm (fair)
2007 Hallefors, Sweden (residentie & solo)
2007 Eigen terein / Private territory, Onomatopee , Strijp S, Eindhoven. (group)
2007 LFTFLD art show, Amsterdam
2006 Wild beaming, Sign, Groningen (public space)
2006 We make you look, Gallery Life Bomb, Berlin (group)
2006 Berliner Kunstsalon, presentation P/////AKT, Berlijn. (fair)
2006 P/////AKT, Amsterdam (group)
2006 Terrortory, Muu Gallery, Helsinki (group)
2005 Loop of Sloop, Safe de Flat / AIM P///akt, Zwolle (group)
2005 Going Down, Art for Sail, Amsterdam (group/ public space)
2004 Bouw en Wow, Hengelo, kunstencentrum Hengelo (nl) (group)
2004 Kortsluiting, Arteffects, Arnhem (nl) (residentie)
2004 KI-OSK, Salon, Amsterdam(nl) (group)
2003 De klok IV, De Fabriek, Eindhoven (nl) (group)
2003 De klok III, De Fabriek, Eindhoven (nl) (group)
2003 De klok II, De Fabriek, Eindhoven (nl) (group)
2002 Hof van Heden, Bergen op Zoom (nl) (group/ public space)
2002 Duende, Galerie Germinahof, Sterksel (nl) (group/ public space)
2002 Out Now, Kunsthuis de Permanente, Groningen (nl) (group)
2002 Glimp, Expositieruimte “Haarlemmerstraat 10”, Amsterdam (nl) (collaboration)
2002 De een minuten / The 0ne minutes, Zwolle (nl) (screening)
2001 Project-space Gallery “Het Langhuis”, Zwolle (nl) (group)
2000 Gallery “ROEM”, Rotterdam (nl) (solo)
1999 Kunst Ruimte, Kampen (nl) (solo)

Education / residency
2018-2019 Re: Out of office reply, Netwerk, Aalst (be)
2014 Frans Masereel Centre, Kasterlee (be)
2009-2011 MA Transmedia, Sint-Lukas Brussel (be)
2009 Recidency MeetFactory Prague
2008 Residency Art Centre KuS, Heerlen (nl)
2001 Recidency Hallefords Sweden
1992-1998 BA Constantijn Huygens / Artez, Kampen (nl)

Talks / lectures:
2014 Meet the Maker, Bureau Europa, Maastricht (presentation / talk)
2013 Lecture at the ABKM Maastricht (nl)
2012 Artist panel-talk about art in public space at Schunck, Heerlen (nl)
2009 public interview by Bart Rutten at Hedah, Maastricht (nl)

Publications / articles:

Publications:
2020 Wandering Art Bienal, Nadine vzw Brussels (catalog)
2019 Originalcopy—Post-digital Strategies of Appropriation, Franz Thalmair (catalog)
2017 Kunstlicht – Breaking the Frame: Subversion from Within (mention with image)
2016 Due to maintenance activities (publication / artist book)
2014 Opposite corners / publicatie  (artistbook)
2014 Somewhere / publicatie (artistbook)
2013 Poppositions blog / Ylenia Maitino
2012 Volksrant / Kevin Toma
2012 Metropolis (article)
2012 Disclaimer / Robert Voorbij (article)
2012 Review Weltecho by Matthias Zwarg (article)
2012 Temp Magazine / publicatie
2010 Tijdsverdrijf / catalog
2010 Ansicht exemplar / poster collectie
2010 Tablet Magazine
2009 Wednesday Meatloafday / catalogus
2008 Volkskrant, Anna van Leeuwen (article)
2008 Inkijk exemplaar / catalogus
2007 Eigen terein / Private territory, Onomatopee (catalog)
2007 LFTFL Magazine
2005 Loopje met de werkelijkheid, Wim van der Beek (article)
2004 Kortsluiting, Arteffects / catalogus
2004 Tablet Magazine
2004 Bouw en Wow / catalogus

Related activities:
2014 Curator exhibition Landslide, Kunstencentrum Signe
2013 Curator / initiator Greylight Projects, Brussels
2013 Work-field commision member, ABKM, Maastricht
2012 Jury-member Gilbert de Bontridderprijs, ABKM, Maastricht
2011 Curator exhibition Some Space Left, Brussels
2010 Curator exhibition Garage l’Olivier, Brussels
2009 Founder / curator Greylight Projects, Hoensbroek (NL)
2009 Curator, Wednesday Meatloaf day, Meet Factory, Prague
2001-2009 co-founder, curator and boardmember, P///AKT, Amsterdam (NL)

 


hello@wouterhuis.com
BE: +32/483.025.029
NL: +31/617.846.229

postal address:
Schaesbergerweg 58
6415 AJ  Heerlen (nl)

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THE CHARACTERS AND EVENTS DEPICTED IN THIS
SPECTACLE ARE FICTITIOUS, ANY SIMILARITY TO ACTUAL
PERSONS, LIVING OR DEAD, IS PURELY COINCIDENTAL.

Wouter Huis shifts the limits of mental and architectural space, the borders of private and public space, delving into the elusiveness of almost-invisible ‘random’ details, such as the “touchy” pairing of corners, or the ambiguity of black matter. Huis creates minimal objects, interactive (video) installations, photographs and (performative) screenings, and makes interventions in exhibitions and public spaces. He questions (un)conscious methods of categorization, (re)presentation, projection, inversion, contradiction, coincidence and literality/shifting by focussing on small and (so-called) objective changes in space.

Wouter Huis saddles up the viewer with the almost-nothingness of seemingly unimportant details, departing from artistic research as an intuitive/materialized and medialized site-specific (re)action that enters into dialogue with old-school minimalism and conceptualism on the one hand, and on the other, with the cultural, political, scientific and social meanings that are projected onto environments, spaces and onto contemporary art and its ‘exhibition’. Wouter Huis’ eye for detail is often mixed with some subtle humour which doesn’t collapse into sarcasm or cynism, nor does it descend to the (re)creation of socially/politically (in)correct identities.

The titles refer to a (self-)critical playfullness between (the loss of) gesture and concept (as in, ‘object/subject’): What is art without you (2008), No ideas, just blankets (2008), Possible ideas covered with blankets (2008), Something with stripes (2009), Getting Nowhere (2010), Found Monuments (2010), Mind The Gap (2011) and Plaats Delict (2011).

In his videowork Presentation (2011), a representation of a performative non-action in a garage, it is not clear whether he exhibits a bored / fascinated public to the rare passengers that may pass by in cars, on bicycles, or on foot, or whether he is rather displaying the banality/fascination of an art that is presenting details of streetlife to the public. It could be both.

Whence the questions: Is the world boring / fascinating? Are you boring / fascinating? Am I boring / fascinating? Are we all boring / fascinating? Is art boring / fascinating? Are exhibitions/texts on art boring/fascinating? Are projections boring/fascinating? Is silence boring / fascinating? Is talking boring / fascinating? Or when exactly, and for whom, are subjects and their objects boring/fascinating, and does this in fact matter or not at all? Wouter Huis doesn’t give answers, instead he shows the paradox of possible superficial simplicities, possible complexities, and their subtle details, in an environmental/spacialised image which may be imagined, or not. This is never a promise.

Huis confronts the artist and the viewer with both non-critical and critical attitudes, which ask both too little and too much of art(ists) and their public. As if he is trying to reinvent over and over again the question: ‘when it is (not) enough?’, that always triggers another question: ‘for who is what (not) enough?’ Wouter Huis has worked as both artist and curator, and he makes of his modest attitude an artistic/curatorial pretention which may (or may not) confront narrative (re)constructions and architectural narratives that are sometimes too arrogant, sometimes too modest.

This is where a (self-)critical and (hyper-)relative attitude meet the almost-impossibility of an ephemeral kind of beauty, (un)covering in the process its dirty sides. Are human beings and their objectives really ‘(sub)-conscious?’, he seems to ask. Contemporary art is – at certain moments – (un)like Contemporary art, but also (un)like the shifted representation of reality-particles. The photographs of the series Triple X (2011), for instance, show three crosses placed over three blank billboards. All the promotional material has been made absent by the advertisers themselves, as if they agreed with a certain kind of artistic attitude and had decided to say ‘no’ to promotional bullshit, though probably without making this link (but who knows?). Wouter Huis has just photographed this particular detail that he discovered in the underground landscape. Even then, this can’t be called a classical representation of a particular reality, but seems rather to be an artistic gesture, maybe even an aesthetics that is escaping its own aesthetizing effect.

It shows the disappearance of a reality by carrying (for) its presence a little differently. Sometimes ‘it’ does indeed happen somewhere, which is more to do with fascination, than with boredom.

text: Sofie van Loo

 


The state in between the something and the nothing

Wouter Huis works in different media, but mainly focuses on video. Or rather: he places a medium (or mediator) in between what we see and how we see, directing the gaze towards things that normally do not find themselves in the centre of attention but that are always, unobtrusively there in the architecture that surrounds us: the corner of a room, the curb of a street or a covered heap of construction waste in a park.

By doing so –scanning spaces and situations- he also places the focus on the medium as such, whether a camera or something else. During Glocal Affairs (Maastricht, 2008) for instance he infiltrated in the exhibition by placing an “illegal” title card next to piece of a wall that already happened to be partly painted in white and grey. This is White, This is Grey thus became two instant, ready-made monochrome paintings by a parasiting artist, creating something out of nothing.

A more recent project, Performance #1 (2011), consisted of a vacant garage box that for the duration of the event- was turned into a cinema. The audience was invited to take a seat, facing the electric door which was at some point opened to reveal a view into a particularly uninteresting street. This street, and the very little amount of action in it (an occasional car or person passing by) was thereby transferred into both a screen and a new space. Likewise the people inside became participants in a strange and quiet performance. It is precisely this state in between the something and the nothing that seems to fascinate Huis.

text: Nienke Vijlbrief, curator P///akt

 


Poppositions Blog

Wouter Huis is a Dutch visual artist running a project space in Hoensbroek (Netherlands) called Greylight Projects. It focuses on the development, production and presentation of contemporary art and includes a residency program for artists.

Poppositions visited his new studio in Brussels, a charming old maison de maître only a few meters away from Botanique. What was once a monastery is currently a vacant building waiting for green light to be converted into a modern hotel. Next to the studio, the building will soon hold a guest studio and a project space to mark Greylight Projects’ presence in Brussels. The site is both mysterious and captivating. The ground floor entrance opens into a wide space made of different sized rooms beside a dark corridor. Walking around, it feels like going back to school: in one of the rooms, a blackboard spells out “les jours de la semaine”; in one of the main hall, graffiti leads us to a wall-painted garden with trees and flowers.

Wouter tells us he prefers working with vacant buildings, where the open space is unusual and offers options for exploration. What he finds attractive in Poppositions is the challenge of working in-situ and having to adapt to a fairly unfriendly exhibition space: “Brass is not only an atypical exhibition space; it’s a very difficult place in which to exhibit”, he admits. But as these buildings are so demanding, they represent a great source of inspiration for the artist who can build on the uniqueness of empty space by observing and interacting with it. Greylight Projects were furthermore given one of the most difficult spaces of POPPOSITIONS, the corridors leading to the toilet, but did not mind accepting the challenge of transforming this place into an exhibition venue.

On a final note, Wouter points out the importance of independent project-spaces where artists have complete freedom to try and develop new works and projects that would not find their place in commercial galleries. He shows us a a small slide-projector installation (almost ready) and tells us about a film and photographs that will also be at display, but it is clear that he would rather have the viewer draw his own conclusions then tell us what to expect. Indeed, the way we perceive and observe is one of his main preoccupations. So I guess you need to come by next week to see for yourself!

Greylight Projects will be present at Poppositions with four artists: Silvia Bakker (artist in residence at Greylight Projects this year), Marc Buchy and Stefan Piat (both former artists in residence at Greylight Projects), and Wouter Huis.

Text: Ylenia Maitino