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Martin Belou

° 1986, L'Union (FR) - lives and works in Brussels (BE)

It is difficult to categorise Martin Belou's practice – though it’s certainly clear that process of gathering and connecting around primary elements such as fire and water play an important role. Belou plays the code of this gathering, he recontextualises and re-activates them - not to create contemporary rituals, but to enable new ways for people to come together and connect. The imagery that he uses for this is linked to the iconography of shamanism, alchemy and other pre-scientific systems of thinking and knowledge.

In every ritual there is a transformative moment, and this is also reflected in Belou's sculptural practice. He experiments with materials and how they change over time - under the influence of water, air (oxidation) or fire. His way of working – though extremely coherent – generates very different outcomes. For example, he makes big amulets in clay, which he casts in plaster, breaks and smokes, to then reassemble again. Or, he uses a plasma cutter to extract shapes from sheets of copper, brass and steel, to make two-dimensional collages or sculptural installations. Recently, repetitive patterns start taking a more prominent role in this.

Belou's work is attractive and at the same time repulsive. It’s alienating, but surprisingly recognizable at the same time. This undoubtedly has to do with the fact that the artist uses his own body as a measure and tool to shape details in clay. If you look closely at the plaster elements in Belou's practice, you’ll see that they are made up of an infinite number of fingerprints.

Martin Belou showed his work in Belgium and abroad, including most recently during a solo exhibitions at Levy Delval, Brussels. In the near future, Belou has exhibitions in Bozar, Brussels and El Quinto Piso, Mexico City.