Collecting Stones With Artist Olivia Hernaïz

Olivia Hernaïz’s series Collecting Stones is based on what is an incredibly elegant and simple idea, built straight from her obsession with collecting, and the desire to bring new life to an older art project named the Brussels anti-demolition campaign.

Collecting Stones, 2013, Olivia Hernaïz. Inkprint on paper, 70 x 55 cm.
Collecting Stones, 2013, installation view in a building under construction.

Here she tells us more about these works, currently exhibited in Alix Janta-Polczynski exhibition Abstract Rendering.

“One day, I passed by the street Joseph Claes in Brussels and I discovered that the house I painted on earlier that year had been torn down. I knew it would happen. In a way, I was waiting for that moment. I made my way through the fences and started to walk among the piles of earth and rocks.


This project of anti-demolition of houses through my paintings was not going to work. In fact, it was not supposed to. To be successful, it had to be a failure. I compulsively started to gather bricks, stones and rocks whether they came from the facade, the balconies, the living room, the bathroom… I didn’t select. I wanted them all.


In the following months, I regularly paid a visit to the paintings made on other houses. Each time a house was destroyed, I collected a stone. Over a year, I accumulated dozens of stones, each coming from a house that I couldn’t save, a house that had disappeared from the city.


Making prints of these stones was a way to create an ultimate piece of memory. These prints are traces of an epoch when the houses were homes. They witness a time when people lived alongside the stones, within them.”

Oil paintings made on buildings in Brussels, 2012-2013. 10x14cm. Images courtesy of the artist.


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