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Trauma Fauna

23.03.2022 - 23.06.2022

Participating artists:

Antoine Goossens - Carlota Juan - Elio Ticca - Manu Engelen  - Mathias Vef -  Mathieu V. Staelens - Nathan French - Nina Vandenbempt 


Performances by : 

Nina Vandenbempt 


'Trauma Fauna' explores the myth of the suffering artist.

The term ‘post-traumatic growth’ defines the positive psychological change that is

experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances.

Through overcoming difficulties we blossom, in many cases thrive. Art has long been accepted as a form of catharsis within this process. It can be an escape, a way through, or document an emotional transition. Artworks have the ability to provide insight and perspective to an audience, inciting emotion and empathy.

Through painting, sculpture, video, and performance the artists exhibited in Trauma Fauna utilise the power of their artistic practice to tell the ongoing story of human hardship, complete with humour, irony and fantasy to showcase the hope inherent in our immense resilience.


Antoine Goosens

Antoine Goossens’ stylish paintings entice us, each in its own way. In a roundabout way. One seems to want to refer both to Cobra and Fundamental Painting, another resembles play on words, with the images and numbers striving to be read as words. Another one invites us to linger in a space made for painting, and yet another seems to want

to guide us to that space along a carefully-planned route. However, taken as a whole, Antoine Goossens’ paintings appear to want to hamper us from settling into any rhythm when we observe them. He’d rather we didn’t.

He doesn’t sit on the fence. The thread running through them is the urgent need to paint memories, experiences, feelings and ideas anew. These thoughts can be transformed into mere strokes of a paintbrush or actual houses. But this isn’t an arbitrary process: the starting point is the painter saying ‘I am the source of these images. This is me, Antoine

Goossens. This is all part of me, be it a toy duck, a beach ball or a flurry of paint on a canvas.

But just as we are delving into the meaning behind the beach ball (or jet fighter) and trying to frame his metaphors in some sort of reality, Antoine Goossens says, “I might just be a

billboard after all.”

There’s no depth in a billboard. Billboards have to have a simple mes- sage and don’t require any direct engagement. You don’t linger over a billboard; you don’t spend time on it. It needs to be quick and efficient. You need a clear message in no more than six words. It’s like a punch in the face in full view of everyone. Is he being a cynic jeopardising the depth of his work? As you might say in just six words, “that’s what free speech looks like».


Carlota Ramirez

Carlota Ramirez likes to draw in a wild way, in every place where she feels in harmony with the universe.

Beermate is a good support to do some « instinct » drawings, to find a quiet place in the middle of her drunk mind and loud people at night, or in the middle of the forest.

Most of the time she uses little pocket notebooks and likes to mix technics and style.Her creations are close of « naive » art, human mind and dreams, in a kind of shama- nic way to express complexity or simplicity of life. Creation is a medium to be inside trauma, collective or personal, and at the same time to get out of it.

To find peace place inside chaos.

To travel between individual feelings and collective fears. To open the window and set off.


Elio Ticca

By fetishising the ordinary, and exploring the

emotional investment he attributes to his own objects, Elio Ticca digests his painful memories by playing with the commonplace, kitsch aesthetics, and predictable kitchen setups. Like both an investigator on a forensic scene, and a theatre director designing a performance, the artist inquires his own traumatic experiences through painting. The work, both a snapshot of life and a symbolic self-portrait, is then crystallised into a seemingly archeological ground, where a new light has to be shed on memories and emotions, nostalgia and belonging, suffering and joyfulness, displacement and rootedness.



Mathias Vef

Distorted bodies from ballet dancers, digitally hacked bodybuilders and re-sampled trans people, portraits of sexworkers chemically melted by a liquid drug – Mathias Vef works with people who experiment with their self and see their body as something fluid. This fluidity is a tool to be, to embody, it’s enabling to deal with the drama and traumas of life. Through photos, videos and 3d-scans Vef collects these m(e)aterials these embodiments of life. With which he creates images and surreal collages representing the utopian state of mind of his subjects, against the ‚natural‘ and other absurd traumatising concepts.

His work has a psychopharmacological component

as some images are chemically distorted through the dissolvent and drug GHB/GBL. ‘G’ destroys the fixative of the prints, as in the work shown here at Shame.Brussels, but as a psychoactive molecule it can work on psychological fixatives and become an ambiguous pharmaceutic substance, dissolving inhibitions, but deadly when overdosed. A little bit too much and an even greater trauma enfolds – everything is destroyed, in a body and in the very same way on the prints.



Mathieu V.Staelens

Thematically, much of Mathieu V. Staelens’ artwork reflects on contemporary culture’s obsession with identity. Ever since the rise of capitalist free market individualism, and further reinforced by identity politics and today’s woke activism, personal identity seems to have migrated in the modern world from its traditional locus in the soul to the defining traits and features of the body. Mathieu V. Staelens takes issue with this major cultural shift in social recognition and self-understanding. Drawing inspiration from a figurative tradition developed by artists like Félicien Rops, Paul Delvaux and James Ensor, he proposes the skeleton as the sole and only remaining body of innocent sensual and aesthetic pleasure, insofar as the individual body must be literally stripped of all of its disruptive moral and political layers in order to be aesthetically appealing.



Manu Engelen

My artistic activity consists of painting, drawing and sculpture. My work is conceptual and I use my studio as a laboratory. I think and rethink content in relation to form and shape.

Although my paintings and drawings turn out to be abstractions, they often contain references to architecture, mechanical components, crafts, scifi, etc. As a result of my conceptualization of form, figurative and abstraction, my practice is oftentimes defined as enogmatic.

The work on the postcard specific is called Flash 20. It refers to an artificial (neon) lightflash



Nathan French

French’s sculptures are referencing the gods and deities depicted in statues from Greek antiquity. Informed by these feats in artistic representation, as well as considering the hugely class orientated culture of the time, French questions these idealised bodies in his own sculptural forms that seek to expose human fragility and celebrate diversity. As his work developed French has embraced experimental approaches to materials, while still maintaining an interest in classical sculpture.



Nina Vandenbempt

Although graduating as an Illustrator at LUCA School of Arts, Gent in 2013 Nina Van denbempt (°1989 in Halle) works with mixed media.

Her body work has the main purpose of trying to keep a curiosity in ways of expressing oneself combined with

a mild obsession with the uncomfortableness of being

a human in the world. She’s always looking for ways to enhance connection by sharing personal stuff as an antidote for irony and as a way to personally break free from the numbing effects of fear and shame. Recurring themes as anxiety, failure, sexuality, existential dread, loneliness, mental health and feminism are very close to her being and are a part of processing her own life events.

 «I bet most breasts have cried blood at some point

Maybe half a drop or an endless puddle

I am so ordinary You are so ordinary I am so ordinary

it is so ordinary for people identifying as female or people with a uterus to carry around these stories of loss, abuse and shame.»



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