Vince Donders
The Iron Lung

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In Vince Donder’s installation, viewers can encounter several layers of time at once. The artist uses materials for his installation that he has found in the streets and apartment backyards of Berlin, and that he received as gifts from neighbors. The artist assembled pieces of wood, pipes, metal, cabinets, parts of a refrigerator, as well as a bathtub, a computer monitor, and a bicycle wheel into a cybernetic system that spans two rooms. The connected materials, brought to new life by motors, form a cycle with their movements and, as a self-contained unit, create an idiosyncratic atmosphere.

At the beginning of the installation was the idea of a pumping movement, which Donders sketched in drawings. Even though the installation as a whole has already taken shape, the artist is always guided by the materials he finds and the way they can be put together. In building, this creates new forms and paths. Titled Iron Lung, the work produces the sound of someone breathing heavily. The uniformity has an almost hypnotic effect. The installation is reminiscent of the kinetic art of Jean Tinguely, whose machine sculptures have been causing a sensation in museums and public spaces since the 1950s.

Vince Donders – „The Iron Lung“

Berlin is not just the place where the artist found the objects. The darker side of the city also inspired the artist to explore the reality of life for homeless people and the fine line that separates their harsh social reality from normality. At the same time, Donders constantly noted the iron will of those living homeless to hold their own in the city.

The materials found address a constructive approach to dealing with things that are no longer needed in the city, the consumer behavior of Berlin residents, and the possibility of reinterpreting what has been found and giving it new life, the view of the future is gloomier. In this way, the installation appears like a post-apocalyptic setting. The installation can be interpreted as part of an abandoned, post-industrial landscape that is no longer habitable due to pollution or climate change.

In precursor works, Donders drew industrial skeletons in empty, abandoned, and polluted landscapes, particularly during his time at the Academy of Art. Today, the artist recreates parts of an apocalyptic world, which in turn should make survival possible. In his critical examination of machines, Donders points out that we are becoming dependent on machines, and therefore placing our future in the continued functioning of technologies. The title of the work also refers to our relationship with machines.

Iron Lung is a medical device that helps ventilate patients and guarantees their survival. In the steady but rattling sounds of the machine’s inhaling and exhaling, all the threads picked up by Donders come together. In the post-apocalyptic setting, the viewer recognizes both the polluted air of a destroyed environment, and the hope of survival that shimmers in human-made constructions of abandoned materials and objects.

Text: Dr. Silke Förschler

About Vince Donders:

When Vince Donders graduated from AKV|St. Joost in ‚S Hertogenbosch in 2017, he ended his art academy career with an installation called „The Zero Hour“. He was inspired by modern-day topics like pollution and climate change but also by the vast structures of our industrial fields. To build this installation he used all kinds of worn materials like wood, steel, pipes, tubes, a broken bike, basically anything he could get his hands on, to create structures that reminded of an oil pump or maybe a petrol-filter. The undefinable structures erected out of a puddle of oil and it seemed that they died in the same resource they were trying to excavate.

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Fresh A.I.R. #5 Online-Showcase

The Online-Showcase offers an opportunity to get an overview of the highly diverse projects of the fourth class of Fresh A.I.R. artists with their different kinds of media and aesthetics.

On view are video and photographic materials about the individual projects, each of which is accompanied by an explanatory text that aims to offer insights into the work’s aesthetic experience.

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