The idea of mutation and manipulation has always appealed to Nick Ervinck’s
imagination. In his ceramic works, he uses 3D experiments to explore ideas of
both organic and genetically engineered life forms.
Nick Ervinck created an openness that will attract the viewer to consider his work from
different angles. These works have both a poetic and a critical social dimension. On the
one hand, the sculptural contradictions, such as inside/outside and rough/smooth, make
these works purely poetic. The visual language of these organic sculptures has a surprising
Organic forms never are a purely human creation. That is why Ervinck points to the great
influence nature exerts on him. Although the series of sculptures should represent flowers
and plants or creatures of flesh and blood, we encounter a clear visual resemblance to the
Gonshi rocks. To acquire an insight into the organic laws of form and rhythm, Nick Ervinck
manipulated their erratic forms into a personal creation. Nevertheless these limestone
rocks, similar to lifeless rocky landscapes, are not deserted from life: according to the
ancient Chinese faith they harbour immortal beings. In other words, they form memories
from other worlds.
Ervinck considers his ceramics, his man-made fossils, as similar creatures from an
unknown universe. By means of a alienating skeleton dance and restrained by their prison
of flesh, they seem to be on the search for a place of their own in the current time and
space. The struggle between dynamism and a static pose is a theme that the artist likes
to explore on many occasions. Not unlike Eadweard Muybrigde did with his zoopraxiscope
(an early film projector), Nick Ervinck tried to capture movement in a stagnant image with
his NOITEM series (2012-2013). From hundreds of preliminary studies, he selects specific
details that are used as an alphabet to tell a new story. That story of complex and almost
violent forms, filled with movement, is obtained by a puzzle of different parts in different proportions and forms that contrasts sharply with the refined and smooth surfaces of
his blob series.
In addition to the bones sculpture, references to nature and food (eg. pepper, tomato,..)
also appear in the ceramic works of Nick Ervinck. These works question how far
we can or should go in manipulating food. Research into crop mutation is not new.
Following the Second World War, the so-called “Atoms for Peace” programme was
established to look into ways to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. In the
gardens of national laboratories in Europe and the former Soviet Union, plants were
irradiated in such a way that different varieties could be produced. With these diseaseresistant mutations scientists hoped to solve the problem of food shortage. It is not
known if these genetically manipulated crops effectively meant an improvement
to public health, but it did seem that now scientists could play God. Today, teams
of researchers continue to look for ways to optimize our crops and food security.
Ervinck is fascinated by the idea of an engineered world.
The influence of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, is also very evident. In this
traditional art form, the vase, stems and leaves are as much a part of the composition
as the flowers. The focus is more on the shape and the lines than on the colours or the
flowers themselves. Each arrangement must also include stems that symbolize heaven,
earth and humanity.
With these sculptures, Nick Ervinck investigates how he can use today’s techniques
to transcend or continue the craftsmanship of the past. The ceramics shock their
spectator with a strong expressiveness. The overwhelmingly powerful colours influence
the perception to the extent that the forms can no longer be interpreted within a