In 2011 Joël Bonk (1980) graduated with an installation that simulated a bakery-shop where he baked bread (inside mold’s of clay) in the shape of the human skeleton. Making the bones (our remains) ‘hyper’ transient by baking it from bread which decays within days.
By calling the work “The Ousia Shop”, (with the latin word “Ousia” meaning “to be, I am”), Joël wanted to ask the ‘hardnosed’ question: “What are we?”. Not to answer it with a religious narrative or a scientific explanation, but to continue the search and deepen the understanding of what it is to be human.
“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.”
From using natural elements (such as bread, wood, flowers, clay etc.) in his work, Joël has turned to a ‘darker’ side to explore a more unromantic view of being human. Examining how different materials collide or coexist with one another. By the use of (used) building materials that are often synthetic or manufactured, Joël wants to re-purpose that what has been left and discarded. Materials like Styrofoam, Rubber tubing, Resin and other artificial materials that have become the base of his (anatomic) sculptures where the human body (it’s scale and senses) play’s a central role.
The tubing returns in most of his work, (rubber) tubing that is commonly used in agriculture to control and manipulate the growth of trees and plants. In a similar way Joël is using it too ‘cultivate’ a contemporary view of man.