By Alessandra Stefanini
Did you like the Coldplay’s “Up&Up” video directed by Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia, with Chris Martin lying on the lands and seas of the planet Earth or the New York subway going through the galaxy? If you did, you’re going to love Sammy Slabbinck.
Change is something that arouses contemporary artists' curiosity, a lot of contemporary Masters work on the alteration as time effect, as mutation of the human condition or a change of context.
This last kind of change is the one that intrigues the Belgian artist Sammy Slabbink with his collages and Vines, where anything seems in its usual place, but, at the same time, shines under an odd and surreal, light: a woman sucking a highway, two kids are floating on the skyscrapers, a pier full of people trying to fishing the stars or an astronaut who burst into a bathroom from a window, these are just a few examples of the surrealist world that Slabbink creates with his artworks.
A new Magritte? Oh, yes he is! His manipulations of perspective and proportion turn banal found-photo collages, like the ones we make in the elementary school, into bizarre scenes with an old style taste that makes them timeless and classy. The vintage style is not a coincidence: many of the images used in his works are coming from Paris Match, the famous French magazine founded in the 1938 by Jean Prouvost, and Playboy, as do the many women’s lifestyle popular titles in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies.
Former art gallery owner, Slabbinck decided to close his business on the 2009 and start to work with the thousands of magazines he keeps stacked on the floor of his house. This side of his personality comes far away, from his artistic family, like he said in an interview with Installation Magazine: “I come from a family of artists, so creativity and a penchant for aesthetics comes quite naturally to me. No school could ever replace that. I had my own art gallery for three years, which forced me to examine art and the art market from an entirely different perspective. By the time I started creating artwork myself, which happened quite late in my life, I had seen quite a few things, and had compiled a pictorial database, so to speak”.
Starting from being a gallerist to become an artist is not so spontaneous like we might think, art is the cornerstone of your life as well, but in a totally different way: he started to feel the urge to create like an obsession, that keeps him stuck to the worktop days and nights.
His photographic memory allows him to remember a photo he saw in a magazine while is searching for another one; some collages are made instantly, while others take weeks before he finds the right combination or balance. Every collage artist has a certain style, he normally waits for one image to trigger his imagination and everything comes in consequence.
His work is really appreciated in the art community, with some solo exhibitions in the USA, as in his hometown Bruges or the very well-reviewed one at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London. His stop motion videos, which are often made in a “social media format”, became famous brands’ advertisings, like the ones for Peugeot, Ford Europe, Greenpeace, UEFA2016, the independent movie festival Sundance Film Festival or the high fashion ones like Gucci and Hermès.