The core of Robbert Weide’s (1975, NL) artistic practice is the preceding and proceeding, the build up and the dismantling - the unseen or often ignored subsurface of objects, events and actions. Material process and play are left to be discerned out of the works material state, as what is most important is not a work in the stasis of ‘finality’, but the sensory, narrative and imaginative extrapolation one can gather from it. By refraining from denouement, Weide creates suspenseful works of humour that highlight the peripheral and often unseen preconditions of their manufacturing.
In deriving the most pleasure from play as a means of production - Weide becomes the Homo Ludens, or “Playing Man”. A term coined by theorist Johan Huizinga (1872, NL) to describe the fundamental human drive to play and its essential place in the generation of culture, knowledge and discovery. In doing so, planned route, the contrived and the preconceived are circumnavigated by opening himself up to the unexpected and accidental. In his practice, play has become a means of continual revitalisation and a way of toeing the line between various dualisms: alive and dead; function and dysfunction; order and chaos.
For Weide, play has become an important outlet for the various irreconcilable aspects of existing within a human body. We are both “mini-god”: self aware and reflective creatures amongst a world of animals and “worm food”: we are born and we die, we are in progress. This sense of trajectory is where he is most fascinated, inspired by the every-day, by objects of emotional and symbolic significance - the underbelly of the façade, or the consciously forgotten processes that led to its construction. For example: the dirtier the dishcloth, the cleaner the countertop and vice-versa. As materials interact, there are transferals and interactions of matter and symbolic significance. Weide is most interested in a form of dismantling, to research and understand how things unfold - and in denying a final state creating a space for imagination and possibility.
With a background in mechanics, Weide creates simple yet impactful playthings that jitter and spasm with a kind of strained joy. Haphazardly emblazoned on card are statements like “shout” and with a similar and gleefully low-fi use of material: card, foodstuffs and street discoveries are appropriated into his borderless and often seemingly frantic sense of medium. This diversity and accumulation is indicative of unceasing questioning, of an ability to draw together ideas, contrasts and collisions to be intuited rather than interpreted. As his works stand in situ the gallery becomes the showroom of a vehicle that stands to be observed, knowing its potential one can envisage its high speeds, the variations in model and its roar. Just as a fountain switched off - there is far more potential for generation in imagining all the potential jets and streams.