The lighter side of satire: William Ludwig Lutgens’ unfiltered mind

Antwerp-based Turnhoutois visual artist William Ludwig Lutgens (1991) takes us through the chaotic thought processes behind his rebellious works. Satire has been around for centuries, but Lutgens updates the mockery for a 21st century audience. Winner of the 2017 Eeckman Art Prize, his first solo exhibition Eat Me Up, Spit Me Out, Junior at PLUS-ONE’s Nieuw Zuid address makes use of the varied mediums he’s known for. Nothing’s off limits, from print collages to unconventional sculptures. But, you’ll have to make up your own mind about it’s meaning.

What were your original ideas and intentions at the start of working on this new series?

For the solo exhibition I wanted to focus on presenting different projects; to show some of the stuff that I’ve been working on recently, which are often related to each other in a certain manner. Like the drawings from Het Geïllustreerd Blad nr2 that depict uncanny pictures of my brother’s marriage and The Complete Canon Law Guide Set‘s photorealistic oil painted camera guides on marble tiles, of which the originals instruct the amateur photographer on how to take wedding photos. It’s my first time doing a solo-show in such a large space, and I was curious to see how a selection of works would come together and open up new possibilities.

“My work somewhat reflects on certain issues in society and it opens up a bit of debate. It’s nice to confront it a little, without giving solutions.”

What would you say was its starting point?

A colouring pencil box.

Is there something very specific you’re hoping the series will express/communicate?

I wanted to show the wide variety in my work to get people familiar with my mind and ideas. My work somewhat reflects on certain issues in society, and seeks to opens up a bit of debate. It’s nice to confront it a little, without offering solutions.

Can you talk to us about your approach in general?

I suck it all in. My research can be all over the place and so is my approach. I often work on multiple projects at the same time and it can get a bit messy in my studio – as well as in my head. Things will spill over into other projects. Eventually I’ve got to wrap it up, filter it and present it in a structure.

“I often work on multiple projects at the same time and it can get a bit messy in my studio as well as in my head.”

What is your preferred medium for exhibiting your work? Book? Solo show? Group exhibition?

For now my work consists of more than one medium. I prefer to use what I think is best suited for the context of the project in question, and in relation to my situation at that given moment – what are my possibilities and what can I try out? Exhibiting can be in the public arena, a printed newspaper or a museum space. I would say solo exhibitions are always a good chance to let your work speak, preferably in a neutral white cube – no distractions. The less noise the better, but of course that depends on the context.

Who would you say was instrumental in shaping your work?

The Brian Johnstown Massacre, Jef Geys, Andy Kaufman, Erik Van Lieshout, my mother, Mike Kelley, Renzo Martens, Michiel Burger and one of my gay uncles, Lucske.

I want to thank all my friends and family for supporting me in these difficult times, and De Grote Honger in Berchem for making me an enjoyable salmon sandwich with tartar sauce last Thursday.

Eat Me Up, Spit Me Out, Junior is on display at PLUS-ONE Gallery Nieuw Zuid till the 17th of March.
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