ronald ceuppens

January 30, 2012

the dining area in Ronald Ceuppens’ house, designed by Eddy Soethe

Ronald Ceuppens, whose work I featured earlier, is gifted artist and craftsman. Often combining elements both cute and macabre, his work is paradoxical – captivating and beautiful, but sometimes disquieting.

Turns out Ceuppens’ studio/home is equally lovely and intriguing. Like his art, it can be deceivingly simple, with clean lines and minimal decor. But closer inspection reveals a more layered story of the artist.

Designed by Eddy Soethe, Ceuppens’ home in Tremelo, Belgium, features an open layout with an easy flow between spaces. In fact, there is little to distinguish work spaces from living, or one living area from the next. Nor, with so many floor-to-ceiling windows, is there much distinction between inside or out.  Nature’s creations influence Ceuppens’ work, and this relationship is acknowledged in the architecture of the building. From every room in the house, Ceuppens can watch as the squirrels dart and the birds flit in the abutting forest.

Another parallel between Ceuppens’ home and art is evident in the clean lines and neutral palette (which are rather like a blank canvas). In Ceuppens’ etchings, characters often stand alone against a minimal background. But then there is always a twist: a bird with a crown, or a baby with an ochre stripe across its eyes. These “manipulations” focus all the energy and attention onto the subject, adding depth and intensity to the story. Likewise, in Ceuppens’ uncluttered home one’s eye is drawn to each individual detail within the space. These in turn reveal something of the owner. First one notices Ceuppens’ work, which is displayed throughout the space. Then there is the lively mix of vintage and modern elements, such as the antique farmer’s table with the molded plastic chairs. Personal objects, as well as ethnic pieces (souvenirs  from travels?) dot the space. Finally, like Ceuppens’ art, there is a hint humor and quirkiness (the gnomes).

All this says a lot about how Ceuppens enjoys the play of seemingly disparate objects, but also appreciates a general feeling of calm. For pervading all there is a quiet grace and nobility, a unity within the space and with the landscape. It is this push and pull, where one’s attention is continually being drawn back and forth from the whole space to the individual details, that creates a wonderful dynamic. It is the mark of every great piece of art and of every great home.

looking from the dining area into the living room and out to the patio beyond

family dog in the living space

the patio

examples of some of Ceuppens’ more organic pieces rest in front of a wall of glass

a working studio

Ceuppens in his studio with some of his smaller etchings

the exterior of the house – the building is actualy constructed from bricks and then finished in horizontal wood

an assemblage featuring Ceuppens studio inside and out

All photos by Ronald Ceuppens. For more of his work, including limited addition etchings, visit Ceuppens’ Etsy shop. He also makes beautiful handbags sold here.

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