3Ciel Grommen & Maximiliaan Royakkers

Ciel Grommen (°1989, Sint-Truiden) and Maximiliaan Royakkers (°1988, Hasselt) are a duo of artists/architects, whose work on the threshold of artistic research, education and spatial design questions present social, political and ecological dynamics. Taking complex social contexts and often disturbed landscapes as a starting point, Grommen and Royakkers develop their projects through extensive fieldwork, spatial interventions, and other interactive, participatory formats. Their role as spatial practitioners involves weaving of new narratives into spaces and testing out alternative ways of living-together, inhabiting, and relating to our environments.

Ciel Grommen extended her training in architecture at the University of Leuven (2012) with a master in contemporary art at the HEAD in Geneva (2015). As a researcher, Ciel observes habits and customs, enters into relationships with residents and shares everyday life with them. With models, maps, furniture, installations, events and stories, she tries to invent new narratives of cohabitation. Ciel Grommen chooses places that often symbolize plural phenomena that intrigue her, linking local perspectives to their global scale. In order to be able to understand these phenomena in all their complexity, the artist enlists the help of experts from other fields of knowledge - scientists, academics and residents of the habited place itself.

Works have been exhibited in C-mine Genk; Artsonje Art Centre, Seoul; Live In Your Head Gallery, Geneva; Beursschouwburg Brussels; Z33, centre for contemporary art in Hasselt... Works even more often appear in the "real" world, such as Petit Chateau, asylum centre in Brussels, in the post box of a neighbour, on the Aldi parking lot of Borgloon, online ...

Maximiliaan Royakkers graduated as an architect from the University of Leuven (2012) and obtained a master’s from the Studio for Immediate Spaces at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam (2014). His work spans projects of design, artistic research, teaching and educational experiments and contributing to magazines and editorial projects. His works have been presented by Bureau Europa and Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht; De Singel Antwerp; Bozar, Brussels; Z33, Hasselt; and Stroom, Den Haag.

In 2019, they initiated an extensive fieldwork at C-mine site in Winterslag (Genk), where CIAP kunstverein is settled. The ongoing project, entitled Le Paysage Ménagé, questions the ability to create an architecture that does not occupy a site, but rather inhabits it. The aim of the project is not only to mark the physical presence of CIAP on the site, but to enter into a dialogue with the local landscape and form new alliances between its different actors (organisations, artists, inhabitants, animals and plants), areas (existing architecture, civic infrastructure, spoil tips, empty lots), and functions (residential, educational, cultural, commercial). Pragmatically questioning land property, through uses and relationships, this research and practice are embedded in Emptor's framework, Caveat's new chapter on property.

Read more about Le Paysage Ménagé on CIAP's website Read more on Ciel Grommen's website