Annelies Slabbynck focuses as a visual artist, from her own experiences and femininity on the world of the tactile. In her work with garments, she uses the typical motherly occupation of embroidery or sewing. Sometimes the old garments represents memories - which she through art and context turns into a new life, within her artistic universe. Images which are engraved onto the retina of our collective memory and dormant subconscious. Sculptural testimonies that are transformed into the reconstruction of a new reality.
The tenderness which lies in the dialectic of the artefact, embodies the innocence of the child, fertility and infertility, identity and motherhood. The clothes act as a second skin, worn, abandoned. The imperfect body 'wraps itself' in fragility, in its resilience and flexibility and in its undeniable vulnerability. In this vulnerability lives an intense and loving desire for the caring. It underlines unavoidable the relationship between the mind and the body; as a home for reflection, where the act itself perpetuates itself in an artistic, empathic gesture.
Her delicate, thoughtful embroidered work, illustrates this tender gesture. These garments contain a curious mix of recognisable images in medical science (organs, body parts and functions) together with symbols of folklore: the unification of the desire towards the origin, towards the matriarchal and her intuitive sensibility, an altruistic presence. The indispensable image of the mother/woman through centuries and cultures. Often these are symbols which originate from her own experiences as well as personal and cultural rituals, presented to the spectator. By doing so, Annelies Slabbynck gives; in a very free but intense way, shape to the universal story of being a woman in today's society evolved out of tradition, without falling into superficial sentimentality or false nostalgia.
In this regard, her very original work aligns well as a mental counterpart to the work of the British artist Tabitha Moses and therefore embeds her work in an international movement of women artists who allegedly used the "trivial domestic toolbox 'of womanhood (needle and thread) as a starting point, in order to carry out their own poetic language and vision starting from a wilfulness oeuvre. As well as to formulate a necessary comment: one of the woman as an artist, her social indispensable place in society and as a beacon in the contemporary artistic landscape.
Stefaan Van Biesen (Belgian artist and curator)
Image 'Our Last Day Together' I 2015