Billboard Series #16:
Sharon Van Overmeiren
21/06 — 21/09/2019
The work of Sharon Van Overmeiren reflects on the images with which we surround ourselves. She thinks about how a specific image or a complete visual language is created, how the forms become bearers of meaning, and how this meaning changes – through time or through different cultures.
In concrete terms, this means that she creates new, composite images that are made up of a multitude of references. Van Overmeiren’s sources and references are extremely broad and cover both high and low culture: from cartoons to pre-Columbian motifs, from museum scenography to Pokémon. The images Sharon Van Overmeiren creates are literally layered, and the relationship between all the different layers of images constantly evokes new meanings.
For the sixteenth Billboard Series, Sharon Van Overmeiren created new work that departs from the exhibition space – the advertising panel – and from the exhibition moment – namely summer. The artist designed three forms in which numerous high and low references recur.
The first reference you see is that the sculptural forms of the works resemble those ice cream. The general combinations of shapes and colours of the sculptures undeniably refer to a Magnum, a Rocket and a Twister – three summer classics that everyone knows from his or her childhood. This is further reinforced by the fact that the artist converts these drawings into tangible sculptures. Van Overmeiren immediately distorts the idea of ice creams by adding historical references to them. The Magnum, for example, is made up of minimal, geometric elements that refer to the abstract-geometric style that characterises the German Bauhaus in the first half of the twentieth century. The Rocket, on the other hand, refers strongly in form to Anubis, an Ancient Egyptian god of death who is traditionally represented as a jackal or a person with the head of a jackal. Finally, the shape and colour of the Twister refer to the Celtic culture that was dominant in large parts of Europe more than two thousand years ago.
Van Overmeiren continues to play with the ice cream reference by the way she presents these ceramic sculptures: held in hand as on the traditional Ola panels that could be seen everywhere along the coast. Even her painted background refers to the Ola ice creams of yesteryear. But if you take a closer look, you’ll see plenty of references here too, from Dante’s Purgatory to the iconic Mortal Kombat logo from the nineties.
All images courtesy of the artist
Installation photography: Michiel De Cleene
Billboard Series is a long-term art project in public space, for which every three months an artist is invited to create a new, site-specific work for a 50 m2 billboard on Dok Noord, Ghent. Through changing presentations, Billboard Series wants to build a sustainable and productive dialogue with the surrounding neighbourhood and urban landscape, reflect on the changes that this neighbourhood is currently undergoing, and introduce a broad audience to different visual languages and ways of looking at the world.
Billboard Series is a project of artlead, together with 019. Billboard Series is curated by Thomas Caron, takes place within a scenography by architect Olivier Goethals, and is being developed with the support of the City of Ghent and the Flemish Community.