Like many cities in Belgium, the city of Antwerp has many derelict, vacant buildings and spaces. These spaces are sometimes inhabited by the homeless. As a result these buildings are typically demolished by developers and city councils as quickly as possible. What is not generally acknowledged is that these deteriorated spaces serve an important function in the memory and social landscape of the city and in a way possess a beauty of their own. The rapid measures taken to demolish these unused spaces are a way to exclude everything that is irrational, chaotic and seemingly unreasonable in urban planning.
Philippe van Wolputte’s interventions draw attention to the existence of these spaces by making them accessible again for a short period of time, and he approaches his subjects with an almost Freudian-like obsession. Using narrow corridors and holes, he creates new passageways and infiltrates nearly impenetrable spaces, giving them a new temporary function as a fictional exhibition space. Despite the fact that cities in the Netherlands are in a good example of mass-extinction of the obsolete and the useless, Wolputte managed to find a meaningful site for a T.P.E.S. in Rotterdam after a long period of research. The artist’s interpretation of his experiences in creating his interventions and the intimate manner of viewing these spaces characterize his work, expressed in beautiful graphlike photographs, videos and collages.
Wilfried Lentz, 2008