Happy Days is an exhibition in two parts, borrowing its title from one of Samuel Beckett’s most playful works (1961). Far from nearing this unsettling glimpse into the existential abyss, the exhibition adopts the ambiguity of the play as a method to frame the diverse artistic practices of Ilke Gers, Phil Goss and Thomas Willemen. The artists present new work, the result of their artistic research in Athens (Gers, Willemen) and Piraeus (Goss), which encompasses a variety of media—including installation, drawing, print and sculpture. Instead of striving for reciprocity and interconnection, Happy Days attempts to ascertain whether these singlenesses are irreducible, offering varied doses of play and unexpected configurations.
Ilke Gers (1981, New Zealand) lives and works in Rotterdam. She holds a Masters from the Werkplaats Typografie, and was a fellow researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie (2014-2015). Focusing on the human body in designed systems, her work includes public interventions, installations and publications that bring movement, behaviour, social and spatial conditions into play. Gers has shown at De Appel, Amsterdam; 019, Ghent; Kunsthal Rotterdam; Beursschouwburg, Brussels; De Fabriek, Eindhoven; D21 – Kunstraum, Leipzig and Kunstverein, Amsterdam, and she is part of Action Publishing Collective, Rotterdam.
Phil Goss (1984, Bristol) studied English Literature at Edinburgh University and Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art, London. His background in literature has played an important role in developing his work, fostering a passion for the work of William Blake. Through drawing Goss creates images that conjure up ways of seeing which resist clear formulation through language. Often using his surroundings as inspiration, he distills urban landscapes and still lives into line drawings, which he later reworks as color drawings or abstract patterns intuitively. His work ranges from ink drawings to working with textiles and installation. Goss has shown at the V&A museum, Evelyn Yard Gallery, Josh Lilley Gallery, Aldeburgh Look out Tower, Geddes Gallery and London Design Festival; has designed print for Folk and Paul Smith and has produced bespoke interiors for Alex Eagle, Blacks, Fix126, Santoremedio; and is currently the Director of the Centre for Recent Drawing in London.
Thomas Willemen (1994, Hasselt) is an Antwerp-based artist. He studied Fine Arts in the Royal Academy of Art Gent. Willemen’s artistic research focuses on how people perceive the world and try to control the chaotic nature around them. His drawings, sculptures and installations are a play between process, form and shape, deceiving the viewer and their expectations, and focusing on how people perceive, interact and manipulate their surroundings. Willemen’s work has been shown at Bozar, Brussels (2016); In De Ruimte, Gent (2016); Beurschouwburg, Brussels (2018); MuKHA, Antwerp (2019) and Song Eun, Seoul (2019).