Thomas Renwart, Installation, Knokke, 2023 Barbé x Keteleer
Thomas Renwart, Installation, Knokke, 2023 Barbé x Keteleer

“I love the struggle at the beginning of a process.”


Thomas Renwart




ThomasRenwart photographed by Nathalie Dembinski, 2023
ThomasRenwart photographed by Nathalie Dembinski, 2023

Where are you from?

Ghent, Belgium

Your style in 3 words?

Melancholic, intimate, hopeful

Your weakness? Your strength?

Weakness: having an obsessive fascination with something for a period of time Strength: looking closer to things that aren’t always easy

What makes you different?

Trying to sail away from known shores yet finding the way back again

© Thomas Renwart, Ikebana Drawings, 2023, Rehbein
© Thomas Renwart, Ikebana Drawings, 2023, Rehbein

When did you decide to become an artist?

Ever since I was a child I had a big love for lavender sachets, those in beautiful crisp white linens with embroidery. The simple beauty of it made me long to create these textures and landscapes of vulnerability.

Do you choose your art form, or does the form choose you?

We found our way together I think, textiles were always there but it took me seeing it to believe it.

What do you find most fascinating about the creative process?

I love the struggle at the beginning of a process. For now, I’m working a lot with ferns, at first I had absolutely no idea how to translate them into a contemporary textile work. But the form, the literature, and the poetry of the fern led me to it in an organic way. And how many layers and sources of inspiration come together into one.

© Thomas Renwart, toi 2 2022, Barbé
© Thomas Renwart, toi 2 2022, Barbé

A few words about your favorite creation?

It’s this series I’m constructing, Ikebana Drawings, they are filled with occult references, childlike drawings, and candles,… adorned with freshwater pearls and beads. There’s this balance between generational objects and thoughts mixed together with an ancient technique. I feel as if this is a body of work I’d work on forever.

What surprised you most about your first art shows?

The beauty of when work clicks and fits with the space and the other works by other artists. The generosity of the spirit of it.

Someone else’s work that inspired or inspires you…

I can’t choose just one, but the power of three in Charmed is one, here we go: Joost Pauwaert, dreams of something and does it even beyond the dream. And he has such a sense of craftsmanship and knowledge of the material. Joëlle Dubois, flirts with image and context, turning it around continuously, provoking us as viewers to look beyond the first intention. Toon Jans, for practicing the analog craft of photography, diving into nature and truly looking and finding that intimate, generous moment. Of which he makes precious works within his studio, in a more mixed media matter sometimes.

Who would you like to work with someday and why?

Lana Del Rey. Her poetry and laying bare of being human is just unseen in contemporary pop culture. She strips it all to such wonderful raw concoctions. I’d love to have her write something and I answer with an image.

A new project coming up or an idea you want to work on?

I’m very stoked about the solo show I have at Kunsthalle Lissabon. It’s going to be my first institutional escapade and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

© Thomas Renwart, We Will Meet Again, 2022 Barbé
© Thomas Renwart, We Will Meet Again, 2022 Barbé

Finish the sentence „More important than my career is…“

Being a caring and involved person.

2023: Where are we going?

Things seem pretty rocky these days in general and in our society. I think Taking a deep breath in a forest, or a quiet place, with just a cigarette and thoughts, is a healing thing.

Do you think about time as an artist?

Yes absolutely, as I work a lot with botanical objects in my work, time is absolutely set into them. You have to grasp it before it goes away again. And that’s something human too,- when does a moment become a memory? And will it be a memory we’ll regret not having taken in? Or will turn into something else?

When the going gets tough…

Have an espresso martini babes.

© Thomas Renwart, Wishes and dreams and charms, 2023 Barbé
© Thomas Renwart, Wishes and dreams and charms, 2023 Barbé
© Thomas Renwart, Wishes and dreams and charms, 2023 Barbé
© Thomas Renwart, Wishes and dreams and charms, 2023 Barbé

Put on your future vision glasses: What direction is our generation moving in, what will our world look like in 50 years?

I really, really don’t know. Somewhere I’m hopeful for our generation to steer the wheel in a better direction but there’s a lot of counter forces, unraveling the safe cloth we’ve been weaving. We have to keep our hearts open to one another, truly have dialogues and conversations, and remain honest. I think we can add the threads to the weave when we pull together and keep on believing in ourselves and the society we’d like to live in. Hope is a dangerous thing to have, but it’s our compass.

What would you do if you could change the World?

Change the educational system. So much of our comprehension is being molded during our early years, and we need a more inclusive and hands-on education where we learn to work together and think and talk together.

What does freedom mean when it comes to art?

Freedom in art means stripping down the formal layers and delving into the informal ones, opening oneself up to the guidance of the material and the moment. Never being dictated to but being guided.

© Thomas Renwart, Daffodils, 2023, Rehbein
© Thomas Renwart, Daffodils, 2023, Rehbein

If the universe is everything and it’s expanding, what is it expanding into?

Something so big it has no other choice but to come back to a smaller constellation. Too much expanding and one might get lost in it all. Having less invites us to do more.

Tell us about your future plans…

I’m moving to Cologne for a while in Spring, to open myself and my work to new impulses and atmospheres.
I’m currently represented by BARBÉ in Belgium, and Rehbein Gallery in Cologne so very much looking forward to where this vibrant collaboration will take me.

Your city’s favorite spots?

I absolutely love Win, a beautiful wine bar in Ghent. They offer very unique and quirky wines, unlike anything you’ll have. From small, organic farmers handpicked by the owners themselves.

A book that everyone should read…? Reveries of the Solitary Walker by Jean-Jacques Rousseau!

Last but not least: what is your favorite Song?

Did you know that there’s a tunnel under ocean boulevard, Lana Del Rey

One last statement please: „Wood or stone, gold or art?“

Stone is a hard material but there’s beauty of something having the possibility of being written in stone.

Your #…?