A River in a Room

Early this year, artist Liesbet Waegemans and Posture Editions decided to collaborate and publish the book ‘A River in a Room’, an ode to Belgian ceramic artist Lutgart De Meyer. One of the founders of the Antwerp avant-garde movement G58, De Meyer devoted herself to ceramics and soon became known as one of the key figures in the group. Apart from the sculptures and design objects she made in a first phase, the book focuses on her recent work.

It was thanks to her father Maurits De Meyer that Lutgart got acquainted with the world of visual arts. Maurits was one of the first authors to write down Flemish folk tales, and he later became the president of the very young publishing company ‘Standaard Boekhandel’. When Lutgart was small, her father often took her to exhibitions of the first and second Latem school.

In 1942 Lutgart and her father went to the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts to enrol her. This would become the basis for G58. She made friends with Jef Verheyen, Vic Gentils, Louise Servaes and Jan Dries, and it was with them that she started the group a few years later. At the Academy, Lutgart came into her own as a ceramic artist. Though no courses in ceramics were given, she was allowed to use the oven that was available. De Meyer’s sculptures had a very abstract influence. She rolled the clay with a rolling pin and then shaped it with her hands or a mould, creating unique sculptures in which you can almost feel the clay, just by looking at them.

Now, at 94, Lutgart De Meyer is still active in the art world. Every week, she goes to the auction at the Antwerp Vrijdagmarkt, where she collects second-hand items such as jeans, lace or lampshades. The materials, as well as the shape are the inspiration for her work. By unstitching them and removing buttons and labels, she obtains a piece of material in an unusual shape, which she makes into a wall sculpture. As with her ceramic sculptures, the core of her work stems from her fascination for colour, shape and the history of the things surrounding her.

Left: Catalog Lutgart De Meyer 1956
Right: Lutgart De Meyer and her work 1955

Left: Sculptures all aprox 1980-1990
Right: Lutgart De Meyer 1958

New work by Lutgart De Meyer
Left: Wood, paint, celery and chicory 2008
Middle: Parts of jeans trousers 2017
Right: Coffee on cardboard owls 2015

Left: Exhibition view and book release ‘A River in a Room’ 2019
Right: Lutgart De Meyer at work 1958

Left: Book view ‘A River in a Room’, Lutgart De Meyer and some figurative works 1953
Right: Brown white panel ceramic 1956

Left: Ceramic sculpture 1954
Right: Lutgart De Meyer and her work 1957

A River in a Room
Liesbet Waegemans & Posture Editions

Words by Stephanie De Smet
Photography by Paul Ausloos, Frans Ausloos, René Masferrer,
Lutgart De Meyer, Filip Tas, Youri Hostie and Stephanie De Smet