The process of repurposing materials has immeasurable benefits. There are instinctive, economic, esthetic, philosophical, and even political reasons to recycle, and visual artists are a very big part of this process. In an attempt to bring together compelling examples of this trend, D. Dominick Lombardi asked a number of artists from various parts of the world to answer four questions with the hopes of clarifying this ever-increasing phenomenon of repurposing with a purpose.
Peter De Cupere has studios in Antwerp, Belgium and Paris, France. His primary intention is to produce scents using what, for ease of definition, I will call garbage. With this garbage, combined with other foundmaterials,
Mr. De Cupere creates wild and wicked combinations of textures, colors, shapes and juxtapositions that lure and assault every one of the five senses. With his art, he confronts the viewer with voluminous
amounts of debris all in one place, posing some very difficult realities to inhale.
Mr. De Cupere: I recycle different sorts of materials in my art. Most of the time, the choice of the recycled materials is made based on the concept and context I am working on. I began working with recycled materials years ago as an artstudent, when I had little money to buy stuff. I depended on waste materials that people threw away. I found a beauty in it. First, it was the combination of recycled objects that gave meaning to the work. Later, it started to change when I combined found objects in with herbs, vegetables and fruits. This evolved into making works with recycled food exclusively. Like the work G-perfume I created in 1996-1997. A perfume made of the foods from my daily life. Over time, I kept the food that I didn't eat and let it ferment. Later on, I distilled it creating a perfume. I kept a list of all ingredients (9 pages) and presented this list with the perfume. The G stands for garbage with a double meaning.
The most common things I find, cigarettes, where combined with smoked bacon to make a painting in 1999. In 2010 I made a room covered with more than 750,000 cigarette butts (not so pleasant smell). For this installation, I asked
students to collect them for me, and for this, I paid their payments in the local pub. It took months to finish the work....
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