In 2006 Karl Van Welden (1980, Belgium) initiated United Planets, a cycle of visual and performative work based on terrestrial or human presence in the universe. How does ʻlittleʼ humankind relate to the immensity of the universe? Using the planets in our solar system as anchorage; he searches for artistic answers to this crucial question, with a predilection for silenced movement and architectural forms.
As an atmospheric backdrop, each planet represents another series of projects. The same planet can take on different shapes and the research doesn’t come to a halt with its first public exposure. Every planet contains a series of projects within which the same theme and form are further explored in-depth. Utilizing different disciplines and depending on content Van Welden chooses a suitable form. He often works in situ. Unusual locations can in that sense fulfil an important role as active partner and source of inspiration.
In 2011 Van Welden created SATURN, a series of performance-installations focusing on themes such as distance, intimacy, infinity, control and power in relation to the contemporary landscape. The site-specific project SATURN I – landscape explores the shaping powers of a natural landscape and has been developed parallel to SATURN II - cityscape, an installation for urban landscape. SATURN III - townscape highlights a rural environment.
Van Welden's new creation MARS II premiered in December 2015 at Vooruit. The MARS series focuses on human resistance against great physical forces. The series started with IMAGES FOR MARS I, a video work in which two soldiers slowly lean into each other, their feet held in a layer of concrete. The source of inspiration for the second chapter is our view on catastrophes. Van Welden investigates the impact of a rain of ash on music, and on the pianist performing the music on stage.