Donate Yourself


Belgian collagist Elke Desutter Collects Body Parts at Kolaj Fest New Orleans

Working in video, photocollage and installation, Belgian artist Elke Desutter explores the body in all it forms. “The body is literally objectified,” writes Desutter. “This time not as a lust-object, or a object of desire.” By reinventing the way we look at the body and how it takes shape, Desutter researches what happens through recognition and abstraction. Using skin tones and imperfections of the body as foundation, Desutter pulls the body apart from its known form and recreates a new image of the body. Imperfections of the body and the skin are investigated and made into “Body of Bodies.”

Desutter photographs all the models herself and searches for the right perspective and details to use in her collages. At Kolaj Fest New Orleans, Desutter will be collecting material and inviting participants and the public to “Donate” a part of themselves. She explains her process. “I reached out to people and passers-by to ‘donate’ a body part on camera. They choose what they wanted to donate and I photographed the parts.” Desutter will use the fragments to create analog collage as well as videocollage, installation, or assemblages.

“Collecting body parts from different people, genders, ages and ethnicities and turning them into one ‘body of bodies’ unites everybody as one. One big piece of meat that objectifies the body,” she writes.”Not only am I playing with the perspective in shooting the photographs, I also play with the printed photographs. I archive them on colour, shape and lines and start making the puzzle which shapes support each other. I play with triggering images that draw attention, but more to mislead the viewer and recreate a body than to arouse them in a sexual way. Starting this project in New Orleans would make for a variety of cultures that can be combined in one collage through donations.”

In addition to collecting images, Desutter will discuss her work on a panel about women in collage and share the parts she collects at the Surrealist Salon on Saturday.

About Kolaj Fest New Orleans
Kolaj Fest New Orleans is a multi-day festival and symposium about contemporary collage and its role in art, culture, and society, July 10-14, 2019. Visit the website to learn more, see an overview of the program, and register to attend. Kolaj Fest New Orleans would not be possible without the support of Press Street, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, LeMieux Galleries, Mystic Krewe of Scissors and Glue, Antenna Gallery,
Kolaj Magazine and Kasini House. Kolaj Fest New Orleans is made possible through a generous gift from Laurie and Doug Kanyer. WEBSITE

About Elke Desutter
Elke Desutter is a mixed media-artist who grew up in a small village at the Belgian coast. The village mentality is what drove Desutter to experiment in differentiating oneself. Desutter started attending art school at age 15, with studies at the Jan Van Eyck Academy in Bruges. She holds a BFA and MFA from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. Among her many awards, she won the West Flanders Provincial Prize for fine arts in 2011. She was praised for the poetic imagery in her work. She has exhibited her work extensively in Belgium, as well as in Finland, Germany, Japan and The Netherlands.

Images (top to bottom):
To Titillate #12 by Elke Desutter
39.4″x51″; 2018

To Titillate #12 by Elke Desutter
9.4″x8″x1.6″; 2018