Hedwig Houben plays with concepts of good and bad, art and not art, the presence of the object and the absence of the object, the present and the past, black and white, artist and spectator.
Houben’s work is informed by a constant evaluation and reflection on the artistic process. Instead of presenting the confident attitude of the finished art object, Houben invites the viewer into an analysis of her own process of creation, showing her doubts and deliberation concerning the object made. Houben uses this analysis as a new moment of creation. The form that this takes varies from lecture to public intervention, from sculpture to video. While the physical object provokes reflection and reevaluation on the artistic decisions that determine the character of the sculpture, the shapes of the physical objects are also influenced by the reinterpretations, as if Houben’s thoughts are given a tangible dimension. Her work hovers over the gap between the physical experience and the rational thoughts it triggers, between the intuitive activity and the self-conscious awareness, simultaneously showing the inseparability of the physical and the mental aspect and the impossibility to bridge the gap in between.
In 1646 Houben presented three new works that continue in this practice, in which she reflected on presentation and the space of presentation, especially focusing on the increasingly prominent role of the performer within her lectures. Houben examined how the script relates to the execution (live performance), and how the performative actions relate to the object. The constant change between subject and object is enhanced and the blurry distinction between who the artist is and what the artwork, is further investigated.