Sander De Wilde (°1968, Vries, Netherlands) is an artist who works in a variety of media. By contesting the division between the realm of memory and the realm of experience, De Wilde reflects on the closely related subjects of archive and memory. This often results in an examination of both the human need for ‘conclusive’ stories and the question whether anecdotes ‘fictionalise’ history.
His artworks never shows the complete structure. This results in the fact that the artist can easily imagine an own interpretation without being hindered by the historical reality. By parodying mass media by exaggerating certain formal aspects inherent to our contemporary society, he tries to increase the dynamic between audience and author by objectifying emotions and investigating the duality that develops through different interpretations.
His collected, altered and own works are being confronted as aesthetically resilient, thematically interrelated material for memory and projection. The possible seems true and the truth exists, but it has many faces, as Hanna Arendt cites from Franz Kafka. By demonstrating the omnipresent lingering of a ‘corporate world’, his works references post-colonial theory as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of the capitalist market system.
His works are on the one hand touchingly beautiful, on the other hand painfully attractive. Again and again, the artist leaves us orphaned with a mix of conflicting feelings and thoughts. By putting the viewer on the wrong track, he makes works that can be seen as self-portraits. Sometimes they appear idiosyncratic and quirky, at other times, they seem typical by-products of American superabundance and marketing.
His works are saturated with obviousness, mental inertia, clichés and bad jokes. They question the coerciveness that is derived from the more profound meaning and the superficial aesthetic appearance of an image. By manipulating the viewer to create confusion, he wants to amplify the astonishment of the spectator by creating compositions or settings that generate tranquil poetic images that leave traces and balances on the edge of recognition and alienation.
His works appear as dreamlike images in which fiction and reality meet, well-known tropes merge, meanings shift, past and present fuse. Time and memory always play a key role. By examining the ambiguity and origination via retakes and variations, he often creates several practically identical works, upon which thoughts that have apparently just been developed are manifested: notes are made and then crossed out again, ‘mistakes’ are repeated.
His works are an investigation of concepts such as authenticity and objectivity by using an encyclopaedic approach and quasi-scientific precision and by referencing documentaries, ‘fact-fiction’ and popular scientific equivalents. By using an ever-growing archive of found documents to create autonomous artworks, he tries to create works in which the actual event still has to take place or just has ended: moments evocative of atmosphere and suspense that are not part of a narrative thread. The drama unfolds elsewhere while the build-up of tension is frozen to become the memory of an event that will never take place.
His works demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves. By applying a poetic and often metaphorical language, he absorbs the tradition of remembrance art into daily practice. This personal follow-up and revival of a past tradition is important as an act of meditation.
His works are given improper functions: significations are inversed and form and content merge. Shapes are dissociated from their original meaning, by which the system in which they normally function is exposed. Initially unambiguous meanings are shattered and disseminate endlessly. Sander De Wilde currently lives and works in Brussels.