PortfolioRobbert&Frank Frank&Robbert are amassing a diverse oevre of visual art, video work, theatre shows, performances, ... No cultural, religious, political, economic or scientic context is safe from their associative game of recapitulation.
Between the many different layers of meaning in their work, you can also find carefully-placed references to previous F&R R&F projects. That's why a selected thematic approach is used for this portfolio. One can scroll down the page or navigate the works by use of the #hashtags.
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Started in 2009 as 'a machine to improve the world’, this work was later transformed into a light sculpture and presented among other ‘brands’ and ‘advertisements’. The installation has been in an everlasting physical transformation: from stickers to an un-foldable suitcase set in activation by a performance. R&F F&R have been using this simple sentence as a mantra. They truly believe that by reading this this mantra, some good will be sent in the universe; vibrate there, and chase the evil away.
--> Check the R&F F&R photoblog for more info on this project!
This personal interpretation of an anti-aircraft gun is made out of scrap wood. With the help of a built-in motor, this big gun can slowly turn around on its own axis. By doing so, this tank-like installation creates the illusion that it is constantly aware or alert for any possible danger. Add some beautiful lighting and a fitting soundscape and the ACK ACK gains the allure of a fancy new sports- car model in a showroom. Ack Ack is an in-situ art work: F&R R&F adapts the installation to the hosting site.
In 2014, F&R R&F dedicated a month of their artistic practice to the idea of a ‘sweatshop’, making as many guns as possible. The basis of the idea was simple: how many different variations of ‘gun’ can one make starting with simple wooden sticks? In the end, R&F F&R made over 400 wooden guns. After sharing their process on social media, links to compulsive disorders, ‘Kaliloze’ Night Guns, voodoo practices, child soldiers, LEGO-DIY gun manuals, and much more was suggested. This resulted in ‘GUNS’, their first artist publication (APE #54, Ghent) followed by exhibitions worldwide.
--> Buy your copy of the 'Guns' book here, here or here!
In aftermath of their GUNS installation, R&F F&R received a commission from Gallery Ganache, a Ghent-based luxury chocolate shop, to remake GUNS. The remake had to be a fully fledged artwork of itself so, they took apart 3 wooden guns and transformed them into chocolate building sets, by making molds out of the basic blocks. At first sight, these ‘Do-It-Yourself’ boxes seem to present themselves as industrial-made vendibles, but F&R R&F created their own personalized chocolate, hand-made their own packages and plastics, and by doing so created an exclusive line whereby each and every piece is unique.
TO BREAK is an homage to free association, a theatre play which carefully constructs, layer by layer, joyful images, political connotations, inter-textual references, and links to popular media. It begins with a 10-meter long painting of an empty dessert. As two, silent janitors, R&F F&R go about constructing contemporary art-like installations on stage: they hang a chair, build a bleeding, snowy mountain, drive through Twin Peaks, kill each other with chocolate, make a Pocahontas-like speaking tree, etc.
--> Check campo.nu for more info and upcoming shows!
Atari’s very first videogame Pong (1972) transformed into a piece of video art. R&F F&R changed the 8-bit ball into a bullet. The game’s two players are no longer play ping-pong, but kill each other in various, unique ways. The loser is represented as a dead, white line, bleeding bright red pixels.
R&F F&R love weaving their artworks together, connecting performance with installation, video-art with sculptures, or vice versa. The first original wooden bloodstain was a prop in their TO BREAK / THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY theater piece. This bloodstain was black on one side (a lake, an oil stain) and red on the other (blood). Frank used it on Robbert to make him bleed. It started as a fun idea, to make small bloodstains and sell them after the show. Later, this idea grew into various installations: the R&F F&R branded bloodstains, the bleeding PONG,...
Since 2010 F&R have been filming themselves while traveling the globe, building exhibitions or doing weird things. This collection of footage has resulted in diverse pieces of video art. In the video work THE GILDED CHILD they mix footage of themselves (wondering through Qatari deserts) with the opening titles of the best known Hollywood film production companies (MGM with their lion, Pegasus with their flying horse,...) Spiced with political youtube videos and a re- enactment of Kubricks ‚2001: A Space Odyssey’, this 13 min. long edit is a balanced combination of symbolism and power-play.
The V stands for ‚Victory’, but also for ‚Fuck You’. In old days it was a spiritual protection to wear off demons and ghosts. V symbolizes sexuality but it’s also used as a FreeMason rank. Almost like Marchel Duchamps ‚Moules’, it can be seen as an ‚empty vessel’, representing hundreds of possible connotations. Every single tourist does the V sign, all politicians and movie stars... R&F F&R have made cardboard figures of these well known media figures while ‚doing’ the V sign. Playing with the size and placement, Frank and Robbert have made an ‚army’ of figures doing ‚bunny-ears’ / ‚donkey-ears’ with the figure in front of them. Everyone is mocking everyone (in a symbolic appropriate way).
-Who says we don’t want to be inspired?- How do you deal with the universal human desire to be part of a larger whole? In a stylized atomic universe, Frank&Robbert Robbert&Frank discover the rules of duality, beauty and magnetism. With their artist’s sensitivity they construct a tight visual logic that unfolds on stage somewhere between the rarefied and the concrete. Meanings are exposed in a seemingly casual interplay of color codes and an omniscient, overarching consciousness. Carrying big arms on their head, needed for visual unraveling of the hidden mysteries behind the doors of reality and perception.
--> Check campo.nu for more info and upcoming shows!
In a timespan of a year, F&R have created 51 blueprints for possible portable pieces of art - all fitting in the same standard wooden suitcase. Killing their darlings, a total of 35 blueprints have been rejected... and now, slowly all the remaining concepts await their creation. Making a fire- case, a shrine for their mini alter egos, a machinal hand on wheels, a wooden suitcase containing the entire worlds religions, a portable wishing-well, etc... this project (still in full development) has already given birth to 6 suitcases, mostly presented in public spaces all over the world.
Training pigeons to fly home, breeding pigeons for their strength or beauty,... during the last millennium, this bird was one of our most favorite animal friends. However, after 1000 years of (mis)rearing, the award winning pigeons of worlds biggest tournaments look a little bit weird nowadays. Birds with stiff necks, with mutated heads, etc. They couldn't survive in the wild. They are beautiful and dreadful at the same time. The price winners of 2014 have been photographed and R&F F&R have used them in life sized light boxes (gathering all winning anomalies in one big freak-show).
A prize is often materialized in the form of a medal or a trophy. These are made out of precious metals, accentuating the exceptionality of the prize itself. Frank and Robbert have made a simple change in this concept, creating a series of trophies made out of scrap wood and junk. Doing so, these objects undermine themselves as trophies, ridiculing the whole idea of ‚prize’ and ‚winning’. R&F even ridicule themselves as artists, often presenting their rubbish trophies along with their other artworks.
During a collaboration with the Dutch artist Sara Van Woeden, F&R R&F developed a small portable installation containing 15 cutouts of animals. Every animal corresponds with a same-like sound. During the performance, these animals are put in the air, triggering the matching sound... in doing so, this chain of actions creates a musical soundscore. During the ‚imaginary gamesoundtrack’ R&F have made a version including animals, but new variations will be developed in the near future (maybe a Star Wars version, Kitchen Table version, etc.).
A wooden lookout, like the ones that can be found near borders, camps or in forests, are now build and placed in a museum context. A huge plastic funnel is blocking a clear sight... but in stead of the possibility of overlooking the area, Robbert&Frank have placed a hand painted version of the Google homepage in their funnel. Google, opening the window of the world and presenting endless (search) possibilities, -but- fixed and transformed in a stare analogue image: a never changing painting, impossible to activate. (In another version of this work, R&F F&R have put an endless videoloop of a burning Google homepage.)
Video art. A house with several rooms. Each room containing: a special build décor, some personages and a set of strange rules. The camera works in a voyeuristic way, spying on the characters. The collected footage is pixilated and has some enthralling extras: depth measurements, time indication, enhanced zoom, focus-in-screen, etc. We see an edited version of the things that are happening in this house. It feels like a parallel world where there is no beginning and no end. Powergames. All masked characters play powergames.
Robbert&Frank Frank&Robbert have made a 50min long graphic video edit with rolling sea waves, Martian symbols, a turning gun, a maze-like ground plan, and much more... A beamer projects this video flat on the ground, making it possible to walk on / in this video-art world. F&R also act in this moving decor: Frank is a detective in search for a beautiful LA actress and Robbert is a skater boy who has been abducted by aliens. In this cat-and-mouse play, they try to leave earth and venture out in space... supported by an astronaut-origami-bird and a cosmonaut-origami-elephant.
--> Check campo.nu for more info and upcoming shows!
-In the heat of the battle everything is possible.- ‚Faces’ is a collection of isolated sportsmen's faces found in mainstream media. They have one thing in common: the faces are all depicting the special moment where the sporter is making his/her ‚majestic move’: a jump, a knock, a stroll, a sprint,... and this gives the face an anomaly- / alien-like touch; all human emotions are caught in it. F&R have stickered these faces in public areas, where they are gazing... And, they have also put them in a piece of video-art (slowly fading- in and out in the dark, supported by a ‚Ligeti’-like soundtrack that keeps on accelerating).
‚Crowds’ consists of 4 big panels, presenting a huge photoshopped mass. This mass is a big collage of groups of people found on the internet... Muslims on a square, alien-worshipers, KKK- members cheering, football fans near the stadium,... ‚Crowds’ is (in a way) a naive work: it is a forced unification of the human race -. As artists, Robbert&Frank Frank&Robbert want people of all race / gender / color to become ‚one’; peacefully / respectfully / happily. Therefore many hidden jokes are incorporated or hidden amongst the masses. -Where is Waldo?-
Frank&Robbert ‚play’ with branding themselves as a corporate organization. It is funny noticing that companies like ‚Coca-Cola’ choose in their most recent adds that the customer isn’t buying a drink, but is ‚opening happiness’ when consuming a ‚coke’. This change of perspectives was the incentive for R&F F&R to develop a vending machine that works like a fortune wheel... the machine presents the ‚costumer’ a random ball (in exch. for 2EUR) with inside a mini version of a branded F&R artwork, or- something else... like a pin, a sticker, a piece of merchandise. -Open Happiness, buy a ball.-
In this video, the artist duo is traveling through the United States of America, while wondering what ‚it’ (the American dream, pursuit of happiness, why is the States considered to be the ‚best’ country in the world?) is all about... this ‚land of the free’ has changed. Americans are no longer ‚living the dream’, but are faking that the dream still exists. Maybe ‚faking’ is the whole essence of the USA in the first place. Who will tell? R&F F&R play with the rectangular format of the video screen itself, transforming it into a face that can look back at the spectator. The protagonists (wearing masks of movie-stars) change in ‚screens’ themselves while playing with stuffed animals and history. Power. What is it all about? Power.
Frank and Robbert often ‚steal’ forms and concepts from everyday life. Acting like proper ‚Trojan Horses’ R&F manipulate these forms and create new content for them. So, they’ve made 4 branded WHEY-pots (presented on a pedestal with a build-in motor (slowly turning around) and a nice TL light, making sure the whole entity looks like a real WHEY-pot from a ‚body-builder’-fair or a supermarket stand). These WHEY-pots are packed with hidden jokes / links / political snaps. The labels even have clear references to other R&F F&R artworks. For example, the incorporated fictional ‚awards’ -that are in fact nothing more than pictures of the 2014 F&R ‚Trophies’. This artwork is all about charlatanism, fakeness and hoaxes.
The Gentlemen’s Gentlemen is a concept from Brian Getnick and Noe Kidder. These USA-based artist invented a theaterplay about a theater (somewhere near the Erie-cannal) that is home to an actor/boar, an actress, a living potted palm, a talking chandelier (that loves mayonnaise), a God- like evil janitor and a rehearsed audience. There is a world above and a world below. Some terrible horrors happen and the whole story has the feeling of being endless and of repeating itself. In 2008 Getnick and Kidder collaborated with R&F F&R for a Belgian production of the GG in CROXHAPOX Ghent. 9 years later, CROX offered F&R the opportunity to do a remake... This time, Robbert and Frank combined forces with the girls from Buren collective, building a giant scenography with various small installations depicting bits&pieces of the story.
This project started in 2010: the printer in their former artist studio was unable to print huge web files or online pictures. Even a random (90-pages long) conversation commenting a Youtube video made the printer ‚crash’. The printer simply printed the date, the url and some (semi-)empty frames. R&F kept all the ‚failed’ A4’s and year after year they experimented with various printers and the limits of printing / scanning. Layer on layer, page on top of another page, Frank and Robbert build and manipulate analogue digital ‚scraps’ -; trying to create a painting-like artwork with metadata from the world wide web.
During the beginning of the 1900’s, somewhere in the city of Kortrijk, a ‚doctor’ ordered the construction of a water-hospital. He believed that a variety of water treatments could help the ill. The hospital was only 2 years operational, then it became a WWI whorehouse. Afterwards it changed into a mental institution, a jail, a small electricity-unit, etc... 100 years after its construction the building was donated to Wit.h. This NGO organizes open working spaces for artists with a mental or physical restriction. Wit.h invited F&R R&F to collaborate with Johan and Laurence - together they changed the building in a ‚modern’ water-hospital. They transformed the edifice in a giant in-situ installation -, containing a 6m tall gargoyle-totem, a wishing well (with wishing coins), shamanistic machines, red/white cells, singing echo’s and much more...
For the 2010 Flemish Heritage Day, R&F build an in-situ installation in the old and abandoned city hospital of the Bijloke in Ghent (BE). The installation symbolized a 19th century medicinal operation unit where human bodies were being dissected to study the anatomy. However, instead of studying the anatomy, F&R R&F (with help of a professional nurse and doctor) tried to build their own ‚Frankenstein’-like ‚perfect human’ alter ego (mixing their own blood with the flesh of a real bull and the intestines of a deer). In this 8h-lasting performance, they unified ‚Reindeerhead’ & ‚Oxhead’, and made sure this ‚creature’ was ready for natural mummification.
Reindeerhead and Oxhead are (since 2008) the loyal alter egos of Robbert and Frank. It started as a simple idea for a performance during the museum-night in the City Museum for Contemporary Art (S.M.A.K., Ghent, BE). Dressed like ‚James Bond’ish action heroes F&R R&F put on a reindeer and an ox mask and were hunting the hunter (a human wolf with a shopping cart). Since this performance the alter egos are being used in various ways (to do or say things the artists themselves cannot do)... or... the alter egos are being worshipped in a portable shrine. Reindeer- and Oxhead are the alternative protagonists of the weird / great Frank&Robbert Robbert&Frank universe - wherein all artworks, concepts, performances and installations are connected.