Hardcore / Softspore / Ilke Cop

8 Jun 2024 – 28 Aug 2024

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

Free admission

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Tatjana Pieters

Vlaams Gewest, Belgium


Travel Information

  • Tram 4 direction Moscouw. stop: Biervliet
  • Gent Sint-Pieters
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We welcome you to the opening of ‘Hardcore / Softspore’, Ilke Cop's second solo exhibition at the gallery on Saturday 8 June from 2-6pm.


Naked bodies. Dozens of fungi. Desolate landscapes. Lush draperies. These are the main ingredients of Hardcore / Softspore, Ilke Cop's second solo exhibition at Tatjana Pieters. The expo questions the classical image of man and the world and the role of contemporary (female) artists.

Hardcore / Softspore takes us to a quirky, post-apocalyptic universe. The current world, rocked by violence, war, climate crisis and polarisation, is over. What remains are landscapes: rising mountains, smouldering volcanoes, vast bodies of water and fresh green vegetation. In most of the paintings, a woman steps to the fore. She looks us straight in the eye. With an incisive gaze, powerful and confident. She seems invincible and vulnerable at the same time. As with earlier work, this is an image of the artist. She sheds a different light on the historical dynamic between artist and muse. For the first time, a male body also appears on the tableaux. His body posture, not infrequently S-shaped bent, exhibits elegance and serenity. It recalls ancient Greek and Roman sculptures or representations of the early Christian saint and martyr St Sebastian. In one painting, we see the female figure sculpting a male body out of sand. It evokes associations with classical Western stories such as the Biblical creation story or the myth of Pygmalion, where femininity always comes to life thanks to male creative power. Cop's work reverses this dynamic: what happens when women assume the role of creator? What does this mean for the masculine that ensues? How do different genders relate to each other?The works in this expo create space to let go of inherited frames of mind and rethink relationships.

The process of new life also shows in the overgrowth of the landscapes with lush plant species and mushrooms. The mushrooms are multicoloured, often larger than life. Ambiguity manifests itself there on many fronts: from fresh and seductive new life to potential danger and destruction, hidden behind fluorescent, somewhat artificial colours. They are bearers of a mystery that plays a key role in a healthy ecosystem underground, in a fine, gigantic network of fungal threads; as well as references to psychedelics that allow us to perceive everything more intensely and free ourselves from ingrained patterns. In one painting, we see how a mushroom winds its way towards the hand of the recurring female figure. With its slender, style-climbing stem and festive-looking hat, the mushroom resembles a supreme sceptre, in which a push of a button is enough to conjure up a new world view.

The search for other horizons and the fascination for creation are also found in the way the artist explores other painting techniques. Whereas her previous work was still permeated by a high degree of control, in her new paintings she allows more room for experimentation. Blurred areas consisting of diluted paint and impressionistic, more direct touches are given free rein. It creates contrast and adds life and lightness to the canvases. Hardcore / Softspore shows honest, expressive explorations of narratives with deep, transformative impact. It is a courageous counterweight to traditional social norms, values and expectations. It is a hopeful and liberated alternative that challenges patriarchal, archaic culture, questions authorship questions and makes other, loving relationships palpable.

-Sofie Crabbé

Ilke Cop (b. 1988) is an art historian. She lives and works in Brussels. She won the Gaverprijs 2024, one of the most important art prizes in Belgium. She was selected to go to New York for a networking trip with VONK Kunstenwerkplaats. Until 2021, she ran a renowned and sustainable fashion label ILKECOP. She is co-founder of Hyster-x, a feminist maker collective for women and non-binary individuals living or working in Belgium.

Cop has a solo exhibition this autumn at CC De Schakel, Waregem. Recent solo exhibitions include Vitrine, Indian Dribble, Brussels, 2022; Folded : Whites, Pilar, Brussels, 2022; NADA, New York, 2022; Wekonekt, Pilar x MAD Home of Creators, Brussels, 2022; Prolific, Tatjana Pieters, Ghent, 2022 and State of Things, KL8, Brussels, 2021. Among others, she participates/participated in the Biennial of Painting 2024, Mudel, Deinze, 2024; Les Liaisons Désireuses, Kasteel d'Ursel, Hingene, 2024; Claus Inspireert, Mudel, Deinze, 2024; Crystal Ship - Street Art Festival, Oostende, 2024; Gaverprijs, CC De Schakel, Waregem, 2024; Luxembourg Art Week, Luxembourg, 2023; Kortrijk Art Weekend, Kortrijk, 2023; Sint-Denijs-City, Sint-Denijs (where she showed a sculptural installation for the first time); Ballroom Project ed 5 - Antwerp Art Weekend, Antwerp, 2023; Search Party, Tatjana Pieters, Ghent, 2023; NADA, Miami, 2022; Arts Festival Watou, Poperinge, 2022; PASS, Wannegem, 2011. Her work is in private collections across Europe and the US.

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Tatjana Pieters

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Ilke Cop


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