Daan Gielis


Daan Gielis (°1988 Antwerp, Belgium) work explores the conflicts and contradictions in the emotional, communicative and social systems that together make up the world as we know it: happiness and sadness coinciding, a frustration of desire that only triggers new desire, an underground culture that stays authentic while selling out… Each of these systems is riddled by contradiction. And yet, precisely because of those internal contradictions these systems thrive, contrasting feelings feed off of each other, setting in motion a never-ending cyclical process from which no escape seems possible. No wonder then that so many of us are emotionally conflicted about present reality, struggling to find consistency. 


Gielis’ work often concentrates on what might be one of the most defining and influential systems: the human body. His artistic practice has, for one, been marked by the body’s resilience and more precisely by the question: how much can a body endure? Turning a personal experience around and looking outwards happened by means of exploring the paradox of embodiment and transience in digital society. Mama, je hoeft niet te huilen (2019) for example references both the artist’s mother - a professional floral arranger - as well as the generic emoji of a wilted rose. An easily accessible pictorial sign system, emoji have grafted themselves upon our everyday written communication. In fact, they have become an ubiquitous and inextricable part of our online conversations. And yet they tend to be incredibly vacuous, even gratuite. Like so, it embodies the paradox our social lives are caught up in: expressing a deeply personal story in an unforgivingly generic language.


Represented by Everyday Gallery