Recyclable Refugee Camp

Ives Maes
August 13th - 18th, 2007

Ives Maes

Ives Maes (1976, Hasselt) is a visual artist that works and lives in Antwerp, Belgium. He studied Sculpture at the Royal Academy in Gent, Belgium and a post-graduate program at HISK, Antwerp. Since 2001 his work has been exhibited worldwide in contemporary art centers such as the SMAK in Belgium, W139 Amsterdam, Yerba Buena Center San Fransisco, the Ludwig Forum in Aachen and the Museo de Arte Carillo y Gil in Mexico D.F. In 2003 he started working on the ‘Recyclable Refugee Camp’ project which is an ironic proposal for a bio-degradable living unit. It consists of compostable structures such as shelters, latrines, and fountains that are built in conformity with the regulations of the U.N.H.C.R. But rather than being a worthy solution for grave matters it tackles the ethical imperative that encourages art to intervene in the world. Recyclable Refugee Camp is an ironic attempt to make a 100% ethical correct piece of art.

Recently Ives Maes did a residency project at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg and was engaged as a curator for the project ‘Nie Meer’, an exhibition with young South-African artists that emphasize aesthetics rather than on social or political issues. In his gallery in Zürich, Brigitte Weiss Galerie, he made a show about biodegradable landmines, a side project of the Recyclable Refugee Camp. What would be the point of a more ethical form of anti-personnel mines was the question raised.

At the start of 2007, he made an exhibition about biodegradable roofing in his gallery in Antwerp, Koraalberg Gallery. The main intention here was to think about living spaces, but most of all to answer the question ‘what is this show about?’ with a simple answer: ‘this is a shop for roofing material, nothing more, nothing less’. Currently, Ives Maes is working on his last subject in the Recyclable Refugee Camp series: Tourism. Tourism is about a housing-exchange service between the so-called ‘first world’ and refugee camps. Later this year, in September 2007, a book will be published that collects all the Recyclable Refugee Camp projects.