Interviews | June 4, 2022 |

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Image courtesy of Jan Goderis

Interview: Jan Goderis
Luca Curci talks with Jan Goderis during CONSCIOUSNESS, second appointment of ANIMA MUNDI 2022, at Palazzo Bembo – Venice Grand Canal.

Jan Goderis was born in 1966, Ghent, Belgium. He graduated “Cum Laude” in Interior Design at the renowned Art and Architecture college Sint-Lucas in Ghent, Belgium. During his professional career, he continues to extend the boundaries in designing, architecture, interior architecture, furniture, lighting and objects. His projects vary from private to public procurement and restorations of listed monuments. The continuous learning and developing of skills are what drive Jan onwards in his career. Coupled with the 25 years of experience and creativity, there is an unlimited pursuit and challenge to design furniture, lighting and objects, which is now the main focus of his work.

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Image courtesy of Jan Goderis

Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Jan Goderis – Once an artist and I discussed whether the medicine was art and we came to the conclusion that it is not, because it involves no creative process or expression that due to its beauty results in an emotion. Apart from this, art is very broad/wide for me, I am an aesthete and I am always moved when I see something creative that has the right proportion, color, materials, construction, structure, and rhythm…. Architecture takes up a special place. To me, it is a synthesis (of) art. But I might as well be moved by accidental things that are not meant to be art. The way I saw a solid concrete block on a construction site against which a fine steel profile was leaning. That composition moved me so much and inspired me to the LINE light collection.

LC – What are you currently working on?
JG – Usually, I am working on multiple things at the same time because a design sometimes has to rest in order to evaluate and get back later. Sometimes I let it rest for several hours, but sometimes it takes years before I get back to it. It is important to take some distance from a design and put it in a different view of perspective. Working simultaneously is also a challenge to get new ideas or find solutions when designing. I am currently working on various designs including an elliptical table that can be enlarged, seating furniture, lighting….

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Image courtesy of Jan Goderis

LC – Are your designs focused on a specific theme?
JG – Yes, but very diverse. For me, a design is an issue that I try to solve. This can be about developing a node for a table base, a system for a modular rack that you can assemble at home… It can vary quite a bit. I am very curious and have a wide range of interests, I want to absorb everything I see the way a sponge does. That translates into the broad themes and ideas in my designs. I then try to develop an idea into an interesting piece of furniture or utensil that looks good in terms of material, color, and proportions, with simple construction, which is easy to put into production. The ecological and socio-economic aspects are also (automatically) part of this in order to achieve a functional, ergonomic and beautiful, and sustainable design that can be used by multiple generations. Designing is also a process for me to leave things out, as little ballast as possible. Besides art, the architectural theme is very important in my work. For 24 years I have mainly worked on architecture projects and this is reflected in my work. Because of architecture, I am very fascinated by ratio systems. The work of the Baroque architect Francesco Borromini occupies an important place in this.

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Image courtesy of Jan Goderis

LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
JG – This is a very natural and instinctive process. For the time being, I have not yet received any specific design assignments and I decide what I design myself, depending on the inspiration and the moment. I hope to receive commissions from design companies in the near future so that the themes can be more defined. From there on, it is easier to design something. Now I’m kind of on an island and that can sometimes be lonely in the design process. I like to work in a team, it is stimulating and challenges you to push boundaries.

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Image courtesy of Jan Goderis

LC – How is being a designer nowadays?
JG – It is quite difficult to start up as a designer, there is much competition. I have worked as an interior architect for a long time and have gained broad experience from this for my design work, which I had been started doing for some time. I only officially started as a designer in 2021. Designing is a passion of mine, this is what I prefer to do, it is a second language that I speak. Most of the designers I know start producing and marketing their own designs in order to gain brand awareness. I thought about this for a while but to me, it is not who I am. I mainly want to focus on the design process and product development together with a manufacturer. That’s why I try to get in touch with manufacturers/design brands. But especially Italian brands are difficult to approach. Italy has its own design culture with very important companies and design personalities. Hopefully, I can work with an Italian design company in the future.

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Image courtesy of Jan Goderis

LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the exhibition or as a part of preexisting works?
JG – The NOVEMBER folding screen was designed recently. For the ITSLIQUID competition, I submitted several designs, such as the JAPAN seating collection with which I won several nominations and awards in other international design competitions. I had already received a few nominations for the NOVEMBER screen, but it’s nice that I won an award in the ITSLIQUID competition. Competitions and judges’ interests can be very different.

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Image courtesy of Jan Goderis

LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
JG – It’s hard to answer this question because unfortunately, I couldn’t come to Venice to see the exhibition for myself. The concept of involving various art disciplines can only be stimulating for both the artists and visitors. By continuing it at different locations, you also discover the beautiful city. It is also an extension of other art activities within the city such as the Biennale. That it takes place in Venice is also very special. The city appeals to me very much. Some say that it is a huge ancient open-air museum but this is not true. It is a melting pot of ancient and contemporary culture. Very inspiring, fresh, and contemporary, a cultural cradle of and for our western culture, for architecture, art, music, dance… ITSLIQUID made the link between ancient and contemporary art.

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Image courtesy of Jan Goderis

LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
JG – ITSLIQUID is a gateway to showing your work to a wide audience. Its diversity creates a great attraction. It offers the possibility to make direct and indirect contacts.

LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
JG – It was a great collaboration, especially with Giulia Tassi, my contact with ITSLIQUID. Sending your work from Belgium to Venice is not obvious.

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
JG – It is a substantive broad platform that profiles itself internationally.
The reporting contains global themes, making it a reference point in the cultural landscape. Both well-known artists and beginning artists are discussed. Participation in the competition is financially accessible for a beginning artist, which provides (new) opportunities to show your work to the world.

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Image courtesy of Jan Goderis
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Image courtesy of Jan Goderis
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Image courtesy of Jan Goderis

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