05. Wiels Artbook Fair


'Carlson invents, Colson presents: 99 spines produced on a modified Canon IR2016 copy machine' by Vaast Colson, produced on a 'prepared copier'

At the 2016 WIELS Art Book Fair we presented this live-made, copy-zine by Vaast Colson named 'Carlson invents, Colson presents: 99 spines produced on a modified Canon IR2016 copy machine', which was produced on a 'prepared copier'. The copy machine was amplified by several internal microphones, through which the sound of every print run was recorded. Each run of ninty-nine copies (the maximum run of the machine) was printed on transparent foil and is now accompanied by a foil cover with the dub-cut audio file in it. The image duplicated in the zine is a drawing that is engraved on the glass plate of the copy machine itself.


Colson belongs to a younger generation of Antwerp artists who could be referred to as 'post-ironic'. These artists don’t shy away from the big questions revolving around the place and role of the artist in society and the world around them. Colson's works examine core questions: What power does art have to change us and our society? What emotions and ethical choices guide an artist in a process of continuous change? From a spontaneous and rather naive approach to art and performance, Colson wants to shape his ideas. He opens up the artistic field to explore what is happening in the art world. Everything he undertakes can thus be considered as artistic intervention.

In his work, Colson constantly questions the relationship with the audience and is also strongly interested in mythology and the authentic (or not) mystique of the artist's existence, which he usually explores in his performances. The process is always important, but the end result, which is variable for Colson and influenced by the context, is an important part of his work.

In addition, Colson explores the commercial side of the art world and the economic consequences of artistry. His works, which are regularly made in situ, are often difficult to sell. The commercial potential and its associated value assessment are problematic for Colson. The making of editions can be understood in this context.


We have known Vaast Colson to be an interesting artist for quite some time already. Because his work is pretty conceptual, you could say that there is always a strategy (call it a score) that operates as a framework underpinning his artistic output. This can be a performance, an object, a book or whatever other form he settles on. We had previously worked with Kris Delacourt on 'Principium 2.0', which is a reinterpretation of Colsons work 'Principium', and so it was a natural progression that we then asked Colson to work on a sound publication with us. He came up with the idea of the Xerox copier, which within a single contained print run makes in an audio recording, a booklet and a printed image. This print run is to be seen as a performative action. It is a complex work that nevertheless manages to remain simple and accessible in its final execution.

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