2018 / EuroVision
“I'ts the set of the sail that decides the goal, and not the storm of life.” But where are we heading today? Tom Herck’s interactive artwork Euro Vision (2018) explores whether our sails are still set for Europe, or if we might have lost our Eurovision.
The theme of Europe is very important to everyone on this continent. Utopian, eclectic and eccentric, Eurovision songfestival was set up to unite cultures. As a war-torn Europe was rebuilding itself in the 1950s, the European Broadcasting Union set up a committee to search for ways of bringing together the countries around a ‘light entertainment programme’.
2017 / Holy cow
Holy Cow is an autonomous project of the artist Tom Herck. It is an overwhelming piece of art, exhibited in the church of Kuttekoven, Belgium.
It is not a coincidence that Tom Herck created this piece of art at the age of 33, which was the age of Jesus being crucified.
On the floor there is a giant tub (81 square metres) containing 5000 litres of water mixed with powder and milk.
2017 / The Collector
It was a megalomaniac idea to paint a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. However, as I inquired more about the sometimes tragic story behind this particular fighter jet and the collector, the envisaged painting aswell as the peculiar activity of collecting took on more depth and meaning. The Lockheed F-104 was eventually painted with a Death's Head Moth and punctured with a life sized needle, thereby referring to taxidermy as an example of the collecting activity. Gradually this activity presented itself as a somewhat dark characteristic feature of the contemporary human condition, or put more precisely, as a form of denying our human mortality.
2017 / Missing
In Missing (2017) Tom Herck plays with the the nostalgia evoked by vintage items like the milk cartons from our school days. Before Facebook and Amber Alerts the grainy images of missing boys and girls ‘sat’ beside Americans at breakfast time during the 1980s. Though successful the campaign sourly ended because it was ‘frightening the children’. In Missing the portrait is replaced by a mirror confronting the visitors with their lacking ‘spiritual self’. This installation as part of the Holy Cow project is about the abandonment of the Church. On the side of the cardboard box we find the Holy Cow portrait logo and ‘fresh 2% fat milk’.
2017 / Fly fast, die last
Belgian artist Tom Herck gives an account of his adventures when he set off to an adventure in the Canadian wilderness.
“They took me to this camp at Takla lake (British Columbia), more than 400 kilometers away from the nearest town, where there’s almost no cell phone signal. A place where, if an accidents with animals, guns or other stuff happens, a helicopter has to come. A rough place, not suitable for any average guy.
2016 / The Decline
The "Decline" is a 60-ton construction shows a house of cards made of nine concrete play cards and has a scale of thirty five feet high and nineteen and a half feet wide. The construction is literally as big as a house.
The traditional images on the cards are replaced by a selection of historical figures, world leaders and dictators. The selected images and the shape of the cards are being presented as a metaphor for the fragile construction of different political, philosophical and religious views on mankind and worldviews.
2016 / Connect one
In Connect One (2016) Tom Herck gives shape to life in a time of moral uncertainty. The artist was particularly struck by the way values got scattered in ‘the land of liberty, equality and fraternity’ after the 2015 and 2016 terrorist attacks. While the attack may evoke comparisons to earlier tragedies in New York, London, or Madrid, France’s relationship with its Muslim citizens is complex, particular, and particularly charged.
Tom Herck uses his work to build bridges of understanding. Like many international artists today, he seeks to explore the impact of civilisational conflicts and war on people.
2015 / Confession
A ghostly reminder of destruction, oppression and isolation, Tom Herck’s Confession prompts us to consider the nature of war and existence. At first glance, the installation appears at the viewer as a dreamlike carbonized bunker. The work causes a significant tension between past and present, recollecting Second World War bunkers as well as contemporary quasi-apocalyptic ‘doomsday shelters’. Tom makes his audience experience the political construction of obedience that lies behind confession. However unsatisfactory, the dualistic moralism of war and society cannot (yet) be escaped.
2013 / 15 min. of fame
"A church is normally a building intended for public worship," explains Tom Herck. "A church exists, so to speak, as long as man exists. And yet the last few years we have seen a dramatic exodus from the churches. If this movement continues, churches will be completely empty in a few years. While the church still plays an important role in society.”
“The exodus from the churches is the result of a widespread secularisation, a consequence of the fact that people are increasingly oriented towards the world, the earth, rather than towards an otherworldly, transcendent reality.