'Saturn Uranus' pencil and ink on paper, Fia Cielen 2016.
'Trickster Gods' mineral ink on paper, digitally reworked, Fia Cielen 2016.
Lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium.
Master in the Visual Arts, Laureate of HISK postgraduate.
Professor at Royal Academy of Fine Arts KASK, Ghent.
I am attracted by in-between states, transitory zones and the uncanny, which becomes evident especially in my drawings. They are populated by creatures which exist on the threshold between the human, the animal, and the elemental. Beings on the verge of their next materialisation.
In my drawings I draw inspiration from masks as well: carnaval masks, old folklore and ritual masks, ritual animal disguise. Masquerade is something that is ingrained in European culture, and originates from a time before the christening of Europe, a remnant of times when the wild and magical were still part of daily life. I’ve always been fascinated by the hiding of the face as it also implies the hiding of the civilized. For example in carnavals: people wear a mask and through this transformation a sort of inner wildness comes to the surface, they are able to transgress beyond the rules of civilized society. I find it a suiting metaphor for our modern culture, with its thin layer of civilization, the wildness brewing underneath. Maybe the civilization is the mask, and not the other way around, maybe it is our true nature underneath. Maybe humanity is an illusion? Have we domesticated ourselves into something beyond natural? I don’t pretend to have the answers to these questions, and finding answers is also not what attracts me to this topic. What intrigues me the most in these mental and physical transitory zones is this feeling of being on a threshold. This in-between state of being creates possibilities without an outcome. In an overregulated modern world, for me these are the states in which we can reclaim a sense of wildness. In my works I want to get away from a marker of fixity and into a state of becoming. This doesn’t emerge from a purely theoretical concept, but also out of an intuitive feeling that this estrangement is intrinsically more natural to me.