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Stijn Ank, Fresco (01.2017), 2017, pigmented plaster. Installation view, Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Photo: Gunter Lepkowski.

Stijn Ank

Künstlerhaus Bethanien

Stijn Ank, Fresco (01.2017), 2017, pigmented plaster. Installation view, Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Photo: Gunter Lepkowski.

The Belgian artist Stijn Ank recently staged a large-scale sculptural intervention in the architecture of Künstlerhaus Bethanien, which appeared concurrently with his exhibition of comparatively modest wall pieces at Galerie Michael Janssen. Both exhibitions were titled “Fresco,” and the artist had made all the works on display by pouring liquid plaster into custom-built casting molds, occasionally mixing pigment into the plaster during the layer-by-layer casting process.

Fresco painting, which flourished in the fourteenth century—“a fresco” literally means “upon the fresh [plaster]”—is a wall-painting technique in which pigment dissolved in water is applied to fresh lime plaster. Chemical processes permanently fix the pigment particles in the plaster. A similar amalgamation of pigment and plaster also defines Ank’s works. The artist originally trained as an architect,

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