The delicate mass of sculptor Rein Dufait

The work of Ostend-based artist Rein Dufait (1990) oscillates contradictorily between the elements; air becomes heavy, iron beams go from static to dynamic, resulting in compelling sculptures that breathe emotion and evoke sentiments of mortality, time and essence. During a brief talk the artist, whose work is on exhibition at Sofie Van De Velde in Antwerp until 25th March, tells us all about his motives and aspirations, mentioning he doesn’t need external inspiration sources, because he already found his place.

At its core, what is your work about?

It’s about scale, material, place, surface, edges, textures, colours, mass ,volume, space, movement, light and memory. Either of which can be more prominent in a specific work. I’m going to take the towers I made in transparant foil and plastic on the beach as an example: the foil was a completely see-through yet filled skin, which made it possible to see the beach sand through them. I had never before felt mass like this, tangible through sculpture.

Kop, 2015. 90 x 42 x 25 cm. Iron, wood, Isomo, acrylic. Photo: Hans Theys

What is its starting point and statement?

I feel like I’m too young for this question.

Can you talk to us about your approach in general? What characterises your work? How do you actually work on a piece, from start to finish?

There’s no general approach. I reject methodical thinking – unless it proves interesting, for a short amount of time. There’s nothing meaningful I could say about my way of working, I’d just contradict myself. If I could describe it clearly, it’d be boring, and I wouldn’t be able to pass my days doing what I do. Lately though, I have been working on a lot of different oeuvres at the same time.

Who, or what would you say was instrumental in shaping your artistic practice?

The realisation that I’m unable, and unwilling to do anything else.

How do you see yourself fit into the country’s contemporary art scene?

I should really make more of an effort to follow the country’s scene more closely.

Talk to us about your surroundings. To what extent do they inspire and influence you? 

I’m mostly surrounded by calm and serenity. I’ll look for more bustling environments whenever I feel the need to do so. Inspiration isn’t necessary for those who’ve found their trade. When you’re in the right place, the only thing lacking is time.

What does success look like to you?

The possibility to get to work without distractions.

To you, what role should contemporary art occupy in the community?

A much bigger one.

Which Belgian artists do you follow, look at for inspiration? Either from the past or the present.

Pleasure rather than inspiration: George Van Tongerloo, Guy Rombouts, Bernd Lohaus, Kasper Bosmans, Raf Buedts, Marc Maet, and many others. I must have seen Michel François’ solo at S.M.A.K. about 20 times, but I don’t really follow his work closely apart from that.