Romain Eugene Campens at 35/37 until April 23rd.
An exhibition is truly successful when the artist bares his soul and that is exactly what is happening with Romain Eugene Campens autobiographical exhibition currently at 35/37. Exactly one year ago Romain lived a tragic accident that left him in a wheel chair for nearly a year. But..that year was not wasted, during this painfully long period he started to explore his art. For the past seven years he had been doing everything but his art, mostly working in hospitality. There are no texts in the exhibition aside from one poem but the spirit speaks loudly, it could be a pyramid of containers that hospitals use to check urine, or the wheel chair where he spent so much of the past year, or the x-rays hanging by a medical table.
When you enter the exhibition you will find a space filled with pillows on the floor like sofa’s and walls covered with art, this represents his first apartment which was so small he had to cover his walls with his objects as there was no floor space. Dominant and extremely important in that scene is the music performed by his best friend Ugo Nardini, the music advisor, consultant and composer at 35/37. At the opening Ugo, pictured above, was dressed in the clothes Romain designed for him. They are outstanding and perfectly suited for Ugo and the surroundings.
Among the ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, Romain took objects he found around him, some old decorations or in one case broken handles from a pasta strainer and he cleaned them up and made them into objects of desire. Turning the trash into treasure like the necklace he was wearing when I spoke with him created from the broken handles.
My absolute favourite, however, were the boxes of the 3D scanned figurines. Romain found a company in Switzerland that usually made the figurines for weddings and the like, he asked them if they would consider doing nude ones of him in several poses. They accepted and the result, well, see for yourself, they are absolutely delicate and powerful at the same time.
Originally the idea was to put himself in a hamster cage, he has a pet hamster with whom he shares the same energy, always on the go, not always knowing where but constantly on the move. His hamster is in Marseille waiting for him.
“The idea was to put my figurine in the hamster cage to keep my connection with him. We are both running people, running after who knows what.”
With this exhibition Romain wanted to be as transparent as possible and that he was. Now any of his friends that felt neglected over this past year can understand why.
“I feel so light by doing this. The process has been so meaningful to just do what I want and to bring my people together.
His friends have also been doing beautiful work, one friend even created a cartoon with his figurines. I strongly requested Romain to make a film with them for ASVOFF 15.
As Romain said “I just opened Pandora’s box forever. I’m on, I’m on, I’m on.
Do not miss the exhibition, you have until the 23rd. Please visit the site: https://3537.org/When for more details.
by DIANE PERNET