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With this metaphorical image as a starting point, Karel's doctoral research in the arts starts. It is an in-depth follow-up trajectory to The transparent body (2020-2022): a practice-based research into genuine embodiment in current 2D and 3D portrait arts. When is a body genuinely captured in an image and when might the viewer experience this? What does our viewing experience say about who we are and how can this inform the viewed body? But also, above all: what does the way of depicting someone else say, or not say, about the creator, the maker?


When the artist swallows his image (2022-2026) digs deeper into the seldom explored domain of embodied knowledge within the relationship between the maker and their image of someone else. This area of ​​research is based on the most prominent trend that became apparent in his preceding research. Within a global visual culture, it strikes him how the body in an artistic image is often used by the maker as an information carrier, reduced to one characteristic. As an objectified subject that unambiguously symbolizes or represents an idea of ​​the maker. The way that emerging theater, dance or visual makers - digital natives – depict someone else indicates an apparent inability for makers to allow their own true physicality to exist within their imagery. It seems that they almost ignore or forget their unique physicality as a maker when seeing/capturing someone else.


Karel explores the role that the maker's physicality plays in creating a visual presentation of somebody else. This is actualized by mutually purifying his hybrid, artistic craftsmanship and making his teaching method, as an artist at the Antwerp Schools of Arts, explicitly discipline-wide. As a theater and film-maker, he looks for new ways to sincerely capture bodies in a 2D image, using lens-based media and his body, as a maker, as equal instruments. In this way, he wants to arrive at a more authentic physical imagery, which can inform his approach to performers' bodies in a live performance setting. In his teaching method, he links different artistic disciplines to physical awareness and emphasize how the unique physicality of makers in training can be an engine for their vision and skills development.


This symbiotic and self-reflective research creates an interesting intermediate field in which a relevant awareness for contemporary artistry arises, whereby the body forms the mediator between the world and an image. Karel's methodology is based on the core values ​​of his practice, and aims to identify crucial elements in an evolution towards a more integral and reciprocal embodied, artistic practice. A practice consisting of the different layers of sensory, embodied knowledge. This is necessary because our urge for identity in a digitized network society threatens to prevent us from productive involvement and empathy with one another. In this way, he hopes to contribute to (the awareness of) a more physical, tactile imagery in the visual and performing arts, and thereby a more layered, multi-sensory viewing experience.

An ongoing visual research timeline will start here in mid-November 2022.


Supervisor Schools of Arts, Inge Henneman

Supervisor University of Antwerp, Prof. dr. Annemie Leemans


Chairs involved research groups:

Roel Arkesteijn, Body and Material Reinvented (Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp)

Prof. dr. Luc Pauwels, ViDi (University of Antwerp)

dr. Annouk Van Moorsel, CORPoREAL (Royal Conservatoire Antwerp)


Funding: Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp / AP University College

Artistic co-production: BARRY & DansBrabant


Sounding board group of sub-research:

Trajectory toolbox sessions, Ingrid Leonard

Trajectory portraits, Michaël van Remoortere

Image studies trajectory, Dr. Kristof Van Baarle

Essay film trajectory, Melinda van Berlo

Physical awareness trajectory, Magda Thielemans

Trajectory masterclasses, Jesse Vanhoeck


English editor: Martha Gardner


In collaboration with:

Joachim De Block, Mariëlla De Vos, dr. Leen Engelen, Laura Herman, KASK School of Arts Gent, Renata Lamenza, Hendrik Leper, LUCA School of Arts Genk, PXL MAD School of Arts Hasselt, dr. Sonja Spee, Clara Van den Broek

Artists involved:


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