Perhaps the best way in which to describe the work of Kaleb de Groot is the term psychogeography. As Guy Debord defined it in 1955 “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals." Not to propose that this term is an exact explanation of his artistic practice, but its definition provides all the language and circumstances to understand his art. In the case of De Groot, his vocation is indeed the study of environments but important in this is that he is often the inventor of these settings, either by building them himself (and/or in collaboration with others) or animating an existing situation. In doing so, his aim is to tap into the mental, often associative, potential of a location. Patterns and forms carry a nostalgic air of their former purpose. Each material and element in his work holds its own specific memory and unique relationship to the context in which it has been. The language used in composing his work - and how it relates to its greater surroundings - is architectural, only reshuffled and reinterpreted. Plastic shopping bags from Chinese markets become inflatable buildings, structures of his former houses become protective capsules dragged behind his pick-up truck, explosives from land-mines become tools for cosmetic decoration, and even his own skin becomes a document on which each realized project is given its own unique form and place in permanent ink. Although his works are reminiscent of an architectural language Kaleb de Groot is not an architect. Although his constructions and built environments are sculptural in their form, he is not a sculptor. While he is often plays a visible role in his own projects, he is not a performance artist. He is curious. Curious in both what a changed surrounding means to him as it does to an (un)suspecting audience.
Kaleb De Groot’s Specialties:
As he states himself, the tragedy and beauty of human interaction captivates him, the possibilities and impossibilities of mankind to manipulate their environment intrigue him. Luckily his curiosity leads to him only asking more questions.