Belgian architect-artist

Koen Deprez

2013

Elegy for Joseph Brodsky

Elegy for Joseph Brodsky is a revision of Own Home from 1988. With an ascending roof offering a panoramic view over the surroundings, Deprez's first house was turned towards the outside. His second home, on the contrary, is more introverted and constructed around the concept of emptiness. 'Not that kind of contemporary, bare emptiness,' according to Deprez, 'but an absorbing, gaping open space, one that emerges from collisions between different interventions.'
Like Conceivable House, the plan is based on a literary work. Immersed in the poetry written by Russian author Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996), Deprez started to notice arbitrary associations between the poems and certain works of art, five of which he purchased. The paintings in his collection all evoke the feelings he had experienced as a sixteen-year-old boy upon discovering the blue openings in the background of Quinten Metsys' Virgin and Child. Thus representing the undefined, external space, the paintings function as a buffer between Brodsky's poems and the inward-looking architectural structure.
When he installed the paintings in his house, Deprez ignored all museological display conventions and contravened every rule pertaining to chronology and canonical hierarchy. As a result, fragments of a fifteenth-century painting by Ambrosius Francken (1544-1618), for example, brushed shoulders with a contemporary piece by Roland van den Berghe (b.1943).
The interior structure of the home similarly mocks the idea of architectural legibility. Although constructing a pathway through the built space, this 'promenade architecturale' does not exist as a sequence of images that gradually unfold before the eyes of the observer. In the labyrinthine construction of Elegy for Joseph Brodsky, which comprises alcoves, peep holes and seemingly endless circulation routes, Deprez aimed to elevate the distinction between structure and decoration, and between foreground and background. Instead of honouring the aforementioned concepts, the various interventions dislocate the architectural structure.

Night study/central view, 110 x 121 x 4 cm

Night study/central view, 110 x 121 x 4 cm

Night study/asymmetry, 115 x 125 x 4 cm

Night study/asymmetry, 115 x 125 x 4 cm

Night study with biker, 87 x 125 x 4 cm

Night study with biker, 87 x 125 x 4 cm

Blue study (nr. 01), 142 x 51 x 4 cm

Blue study (nr. 01), 142 x 51 x 4 cm