A long time ago I was asked to send the shoes I wear in my studio to a shoe museum that collects and exhibits shoes of artists. It took me more than a decade to fulfill this request.
My shoes, light green plastic sandals which I bought in Paris for two euro, are now so done, so at the end, that I really can‘t wear them anymore. The rotten material cracks and crumbles, deep ruptures run through the soles. As I often walk barefoot on my drawings, graphite has worked its way into the acidic green of the plastic and covered it with a grey veil. The formerly bright green is a colour I also use for my paintings – maybe that‘s why I could never part with these shoes.
The time has come to give up these tired, completely wasted shoes after they have served me faithfully as studio sandals for so many years. Now the request from the museum is also convenient for me; this way I can continue to hold on to the shoes. I don‘t have to throw them away, but can give them a new honourable afterlife.
It is the rare case that a low-cost product, probably produced under miserable conditions, is brought close to immortality.
2020, Text for “Shues or no Shues”, Museum in Antwerpen