Barak Lili M resident Margot Van den Berghe
When you walk into Margot's studio, you immediately notice the coziness and individuality of the space. Although the building on the See U site where the studios are housed will soon (spring 2022) be demolished, Margot has done her best to make it her own place. During our conversation she is happy to tell you more about this and she explains her working method.
Margot is a textile artist and designer, but she also draws and paints a lot. “As a child I used to draw for days on end, so I had piles of drawings.” The smaller drawings that hang on the wall are still the basis of her work. They are a bit more sketch-oriented, but by folding, painting and deforming, she comes to the inspiration for a larger textile work. The fascination for materiality has always been there. During secondary school at Sint-Lukas Brussels she followed liberal arts, where the focus was more on sculpture and drawing. She did use a hair for her thesis and during the open days of the textile studio at Luca School of Arts Ghent, her interest was aroused. The fascination for her turned out to be a greater fascination for wire. The click that this is what she really wants to do was quickly made and with the support of her parents, Margot went all out for this new way of working.
Despite the fact that she just graduated (in 2021), Margot already seems to know where she wants to go. She says she is a tinkerer, but the finesse of the end result suggests otherwise. Her textile works are made both by machine and by hand. Only working by hand would be impossible and unaffordable, but the human touch is important to her. Various instruments are therefore displayed in her studio, with a sewing machine, a knitting machine and a loom standing loosely throughout the room. She needs that expanse and was immediately a big reason to respond to Pilar's open call to become an artist in residence.” I used to have to choose which technique I worked with in a certain period due to a lack of space, but preferably I work with several instruments at the same time. One work arises from another, but with a lack of space that possibility disappears”. The working tools that are here are also unique. The knitting machine was found on the street by someone in the family and the loom also came through connections. Before she received it as a Christmas present, it was languishing in the basement of the Steiner School in Leuven.
Her works are therefore created in a varied way and her inspiration also comes from different angles. It is mainly with older roles and painters (including Philippe Vandenberg, Henri Matisse and Marie Hazard) where she gets the mustard, but she also learns every day from fellow textile designers. She did an internship with Klaas Rommelaere, who works a lot with color and embroidery techniques. From him she learned an upholstery stitch that she now uses a lot in her own work. Sometimes she designs works with a corner and it is clear that Margot likes to play with the boundary between design and art. This has come about par hazard by the desire to make carpets. With some textile works, however, a shape has to be removed so that the carpet is no longer functional, but the reference to the design object remains.
This double expression is also visible in the way the artworks are positioned in the room. The works of art in the making are spread across the room and a finished work hangs on the wall. Planning in advance how long something will take is not an issue. Due to the long period of the residency until the end of May, this is not necessary either and Margot has plenty of time and space to develop her ideas. She cannot give dates for upcoming exhibitions yet, but you can find out all the plans for the future via her Instagram account or website.
Barak Lili M is Pilar's breeding ground for young, artistic and cultural entrepreneurs. Barak Lili M consists of 2 rehearsal rooms for musicians, 3 art studios and a workspace for creative entrepreneurs.
Written by Ella Oelbrandt
Mainly self-taught photographer and sociologist. Focussing on Brussels, human movement and culture.17 December 2021