Karl Van Welden

Since 2003 Karl Van Welden has been working on his artistic cabinets ‘A repository, himself a guardian’ in which he collects, researches and displays artists’ physical material. In 2006, under the title United Planets/United Planets, he initiated a cycle based on human presence in the universe. Using the planets from our solar system as an anchor point, he searches for visual answers to this key question, with a great fondness for quiet movement and architectural form.

As an atmospheric background, each planet represents a different series of projects for Karl Van Welden. The same planet can assume different shapes and the research does not stop at the first public moment. Using different disciplines and depending on the content, Van Welden chooses a suitable form.

Non-ordinary locations often play an important role as active fellow players and sources of inspiration.


video, 28’37”

In this video work Karl Van Welden investigates the effect of a disaster on the human body. People in a state of carelessness until a dark ash rain falls upon them, turning their idyll into a catastrophe. Or how a blissful moment becomes a scene of charred bodies on a patch of scorched earth.

The choreography and movements are inspired by archaeological finds from Pompeii and Herculaneum, which literally show the positions of bodies at the moment of a catastrophe. After the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano, its victims were enclosed by ashes. In time, the bodies disintegrated while the ash surrounding them solidified, creating cavities. Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli filled these cavities with plaster, creating a very precise image of the victims of this natural disaster. They remind us of the marble figures on medieval tombs. Sleeping beauties and tormented bodies, which reflect the Eros and the Thanatos of our relationship with the end.

Concept | Direction: Karl Van Welden – Director of photography: Tom Callemin – Dramaturgy: Bart Capelle | Isabelle Stockmans – Performers: Stefaan Claeys | Siet Raeymaekers | Steve Salambier – Machinery: Maarten De Vrieze – Production: wpZimmer – Coproduction: Concertgebouw Brugge | C-TAKT | Workspacebrussels – Supported by: Internationaal Kortfilmfestival Leuven | Scenaristengilde | Eye Lite