How Jos Devriendt Plays With Light and Shadow
Known for his playful ceramic lamps that resemble mushrooms, the Belgian artist-designer has crafted a sculptural language rooted in time and perspective. Here, he dishes on his painting background, how the tides influence his work, and the beauty in danger.
What’s usually on your mind when you’re sculpting?
Nothing. I try to put everything away and focus on the end result, though I keep some molds out for inspiration. Sometimes my lamps take a month to build, others a year. I often redo them to achieve a precise color. It differs from painting, where mixing colors is easy. Sculpting requires reworking the glazes, which takes time. It’s a process.
Many of your lamps look like mushrooms, which make a fun visual statement as a group. What draws you to this particular form?
It stems from my search for an archetype that keeps its sculptural qualities during day and night. I can build into this form an electrical element that allows the sculpture to seemingly transform itself through light and shadow.
Your experience of each lamp changes depending on the time. During the day, it’s illuminated from the lighting in the space, while at night the light emanates from the inside. It constantly changes from night to day.
You’re showing a new series of gold-plated ceramic and cast bronze lamps. What sparked your interest in these materials?
I’ve made ceramic gold glazes for 30 years, but this show marked the first time I’ve applied the glazes on unique pieces. Their reflective surface works like a mirror, reflecting everything around it while illustrating time and context. Since ancient times, of course, humans have treasured gold. Calling someone “golden” is special, so these lamps carry a deeper philosophical meaning.
Where do you normally source materials?
There’s an old man in Oudenaarde [in Belgium] who trained at a very famous Parisian foundry called Coubertin. He knows how to make glazes in almost every color. Younger artisans are starting to pick up on his techniques.