Walking, drawing, collecting images and impressions for woodcuts and sounds – Gustave Demoen at Villa R

Gustave Demoen is a young visual artist, performer and musician from Ghent, Belgium.

He holds a Master of Fine Arts at LUCA School of Arts and currently works as instructor of artistic workshops for children in Das Kunst (Ghent Belgium).

The artist also co-organises happenings, performances, screening, exhibitions and started a music band called de zwarte zusters.

De zwarte zusters is an improvisation band with up to 15 musicians. The project started in october 2016 in the slipstream of a footballcompetition. The band, which includes both skilled as well as no-educated musicians, already performed at several festivals. Every individual in the group is also a visual artist. The combination of the creativity of the amateur and the unexpected scenario of a performance leads the band to an adventure similar to a rehearsel of an improvisational theatre. Every performance has a different development, due to the changing circumstances, even the fear to fail and the conflict with the public are part of the work, both personal and logistic of the band. The poetry of the sound in its primordial essence is the spine of every performance and the connection between the artists in the group leads the band to a strong creative connection. 

Artistically Gustave’s practice always starts from drawing, which can then be turned into woodcuts in a second moment, or into something even more abstract like sound. He usually finds inspiration in old encyclopaedias, ornaments in architecture etc.


After years of making woodcuts, Gustave made a project called “Pingpong toernooi” and tried with this work to exclude the cutting in the wood in favour of a 3-dimensional sculpure with a possibility of changing modules. The sacrality of prints on white walls was replaced by a work that teases the public in a totally different way: the viewer is invited to “complete” the sculpture by playing between the different colour fields. The colour fields changes from position and composition following the logic of a competition. At the beginning, there are 4 tables with 8 players, then there are 2 tables with 4 players and in the final game there’s only the classical format of the completed table. Every colour combination suggests another emotional relation to the ping-pong game. In the subconcious the different colours have influence on the way the players perform. Meanwhile after the competition the table becomes a work of art filled with action and a souvenir of a playground.

During his residency at Villa R, Gustave took long walks, drawing and collecting attractive images of the environment around. Villa R turned out to be a really inspiring playground especially because the artist has usually been working in urban surroundings so far.

The artist made lots of pencildrawings and woodcuts, taking inspiration by images that are synthesis of essential forms of nature, giving expression to human emotions.

Gustave found the essence of the territory revealed in the vegetables’ world and in the plants around Villa R. 

The final piece the artist realized comprises 8 pink wooden modules, from which the artist obtained an ornamental motive inspired by the plants he found himself most attracted to.

A website of Gustave’s art and woodcut projects will soon be available.

Further information about de zwarte zusters music group can be found on these links: http://zwartezusters.be ; https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0UwaHIyrZEPxfGIDmxliug ; http://kraak.net

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