About

Rain or shine, Babs goes on long walks – at times to inhospitable places – where she picks up tiny objects. She observes, selects and hand-picks all sorts of rejects which she consummately makes her own. To pick up a trinket is to accept and appropriate it, take it to your heart and intensely cherish it, for it fills a particular inner need. Going walking – this modern-day hunter-gatherer’s quest – is always a momentous occasion.

Their morphology, structure and texture make stones into the archive and library of the origin of earthly life. Each time Babs places a stone in the palm of her hand and clasps it between index and little flinger, she makes up a warm bed for it and embarks on her own story. The hand is the unit of measure: when it fits in one hand, you can keep it. At times, it’s as if the artist’s soul has nestled in the palm of her hand. Bab’s creations harbor her physical and psychological essence: fragile, vulnerable yet also firm and strong.

After graduating in graphic design and photography, she resolutely opts for the back-to-basics approach of analog black-and-white photography without a camera. This entails, amongst others, camera obscura works/installations, photograms, images of all that blooms and flourishes, and lots of arduous dark-room work. She photographs aspects of nature: a landscape, its many minuscule details, and associates them with the flow of her own, meandering inner life. Her oeuvre may take on many forms, but the central principle remains the same, in that it moves from the simple and minute, over enduring effect and transformation to our complex, large-scale world. Take the monumental mobiles representing the cosmos an its up-currents, for example. From micro to macro, from cell to organism, from dot, line, circle to spiral. Yet always keenly aware of man’s insignificance. Babs’ compositions never stray from her own self. Images and stones are not vehicles for romantic metaphors or artistic demonstrations. She indeed only assembles what feels right. Her quest is an intuitive one, even though the route may have been mapped out ages ago. This work is essentially the activity of the child Babs, who spent years in a seaside sanatorium, pockets bulging with what today forms the basis of her oeuvre. ‘Surely I could do this myself ‘, some beholders will say, since it all looks very familiar. What matters, however, is the potential for empathy; which, incidentally, is the way an artist forges a link with his/her public. This kind of beachcombing brims with youthful, tireless attempts at solving the morphological mysteries of the cosmos and universe. These are strong, pared down specimens by someone who lives and breathes nature, and has embarked on a quest that will never end. Going to see this work is like witnessing the elation of first stumbling upon something in nature. Watching rapture being rekindled is highly infectious.

Wim Van Mulders

Solo exhibitions

‘Equilibrium’
Valerie Traan Gallery, Antwerp
26/12/2020 – 30/01/2021

‘A Heart Made of Stone, They Said’
NO/Gallery, Ghent
06/03/2020 – 29/03/2020

‘renaissance’
Schönfeld Projects, Antwerp
Duo-show with Jesse Willems
25/10/2020 – 29/11/2020

‘When you look closely a whole universe arises’
Geukens & De Vil, Knokke
05/10/2019 – 10/11/2019

‘I don’t need my eyes to see’
Pinguin Space, Brussels
27/01/2019 – 17/02/2019

‘Would I be able to breathe without you’
Tique Art Space, Antwerp
04/10/2018 – 27/10/2018

‘Babs Decruyenaere’
woot ruimte voor kunst, Antwerp
13/04/2014 – 10/05/2014

‘Light Dissolving Sight #2’
Passage, Sint-Lucas, Antwerp
12/01/2012 – 07/02/2012

project Numero 33
private house, Zoersel
05/06/2011 – 03/07/2011

‘on record’
(expo for one night)
SECONDroom, Antwerp
05/06/2010

‘h/v’
Forum+ (Concertgebouw), Bruges
09/10/2009 – 03/01/2010

‘(In)between’
In-View #6 /Atelier Solarshop, Antwerp
05/11/2009 – 05/12/2009

‘Light Dissolving Sight’
Dagmar De Pooter Gallery, Antwerp
07/09/2007 – 20/10/2007

Group exhibitions

TRACES of the future; valerie_traan gallery since 2010
Valerie Traan Gallery, Antwerp
06/02/2021 – 20/03/2021

In an Early Alpha Stage
OORtreders festival, Pelt
11/10/2020 – 18/12/2020

Nature Morte/Nature Vivante
Grand-Hornu, Hornu
24/11/2019 – 08/03/2020

Quatuor
with Paul Gees, Arpaïs Du Bois en Katleen Vinck
Ruimte P60, Assen, (NL)
15/09/2019 – 13/10/2019

Vibrer
Biennale de Photographie en Condroz, Marchin-Ossogne
03/08/2019 – 25/08/2019

WORK FLOW
curator Wim Wauman
Zwijgershoek, Sint-Niklaas
21/042018 – 02/09/2018

Intimate Structures #1
Tique Art Space, Antwerp
07/12/2017 – 23/12/2017

Faire and Square
Bubox, Kortrijk
30/09/2016 – 23/10/2016

Elf na Twaalf
Croxhapox, Ghent
13/04/2016 – 10/05/2016

project #001 one night only expo
Hypermobiel, Antwerp
22/01/2016

‘Crystal mountains’
Mijn Vlakke Land
FotoMuseum, Antwerp
26/06/2015 – 04/10/2015

Welcome to the black box / Spiegelrefleksies
Collaboration with Taco Hidde Bakker
Extrapool, Nijmegen (NL)
08/09/2013

Kortrijk Vlaandert
’t Fort, Kortrijk
04/07/2013 – 18/08/2013

NEMA TOG PODRUMA
Factor 44, Antwerp
17-18/08/2012

‘Plethora’ – Cinema
Voorkamer, Lier
11/052012 – 08/07/2012

Enter II this reality
De Bijl, Zoersel
04/09/2012 – 26/09/2012

7000 Cakehouse Posters voor Bornem
Cultuurcentrum Ter Dilft, Bornem
07/12/2009 – 13/12/2009

Screenworlds Contemporary Photography in the Flemish Parliament
De Loketten, Vlaams Parlement, Brussels
02/10/2008 – 20/12/2008

De Canvascollectie
Bozar, Brussels
23/05/2008 – 15/06/2008

O Que Nos Cerca (what is around us)
Dagmar De Pooter Gallery, Antwerp
07/12/2007 – 20/01/2007

Table Of Contents
Dagmar De Pooter Gallery, Antwerp
01/12/2005 – 21/01/2006

Performance night with Building Transmissions
Galeria Neon, Bologna (I)
16/07/2003

Quarantaine
Van Nelle Fabriek, Rotterdam (NL)
21/05/2003 – 29/05/2003

Zeitraum
2YKgalerie, Berlin (D)
12/04/2003

Chambre à Mèmoires (part 2)
Curator Helena Sidiropoulos
with i.a.Peter Lemmens, Nico Dockx, Mark Luyten, Peter Verwimp en Hans Segers
The Berwick Research Institute, Roxbury (Boston)
4-5/04/2003

Chambre à Mémoires (part 1)
Curator Helena Sidiropoulos
with i.a. Peter Lemmens, Nico Dockx, Mark Luyten en Peter Verwimp
Antichambre, Antwerp
18/01/2003 – 10/02/2003

Publications

contribution to Earth.Rope.Pot.Plant
Magazine curated by Sigrid Volders & Narelle Dore
2015

Screenworld
Publication on contemporary photography from Flanders
2008

catalogus: Canvascollectie
2008

‘…in this space’
Poster publication curated by Helena Sidiropoulos
with i.a. Bill Davenport, Kris Delacourt, Dessislava Dimova, Nico Dockx
2006

’Noise’
Publication for ad!dict magazine #1
2001

Education

1998-2002
bachelor & master’s degree graphic design
KdG hogeschool Antwerp, ABK

2002-2003
master of fine arts – Autonome Beeldende Kunst
2de fase vrije kunsten Post St-Joost
academie St-Joost, Breda (NL)