Maëlle Dufour (°1994, Mons) explores progress, the archaeology of waste and memory through complex systems and monumental installations. The notion of ruins and catastrophes, disaster and decay, takes a central place in her practice, yet often also contains the promise of a new beginning. The installation on view consists of more than twenty barrels of varying heights with different lids from ceramics. The barrels refer to the so-called Paardenmarkt, a submerged sand bank at merely 300 meters from the fancy beach of Knokke-Heist. Few people know that these contain 3500 tons of ammunition that have been stored there at the end of First World War and were rediscovered in 1971. Despite recent warning from environmentalists and scientists for the ecotoxicological effects of this waste, the government does not want to remove them. With this installation, Maëlle Dufour is playing out the fascination that these barrels exert and the contrast between their formal beauty and potential danger. A HISK laureate (2022-2023), she studied sculpture at La Cambre and in Finland, and has participated in various prestigious exhibitions in Belgium and abroad such as Artagon III (chaired by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Paris, BE), BPS22 (BE), Kanal Centre Pompidou (BE) and Universidad de Conception (CL). She has also been invited to Shake Résidence Nomade (Tunis, TU), Maac (Brussels, BE), Alumi Startwell (Amsterdam, NL). In 2022, she created an artistic integration for the prison of Haren (Brussels, BE). Her work has been awarded several prizes, such as the Encouragement Prize for Sculpture of the Institut de France, the Sofam Prize, 2019, the Prize of the Arts Commission of Wallonia, 2018 and the FWB Public Prize for Young Sculpture 2020. She has received several grants including "Vocatio" 2022, "Aide à la création" 2019, "Un Futur pour la Culture" 2021 and "Cocof" 2021.
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