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When the artist swallows his image

(c) Karel Tuytschaever.png

PhD project

Promotors: Inge Henneman (RAA) and Annemie Leemans (UA)

Other research groups involved:

Body and Material Reinvented (RAA) en ViDi (UA)

What does the way of depicting someone else say, or not say, about the creator, the maker?
When the artist swallows his image 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 Karel’s preceding research project The transparent body (2020-2022). 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 Tuytschaever 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 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. His 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, Karel Tuytschaever 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.

Karel Tuytschaever


Karel Tuytschaever.jpg

Karel Tuytschaever (BE, °1985) graduates in 2007 from the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp in Drama, a theater education program led by Dora van der Groen. To date, Karel works as a freelance performer for theatre, film and television series. You can also hear him in voice work for TV and radio. 
Since 2008, he is a lecturer at the Bachelor programs in Drama and in Contemporary Dance at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp / AP University College and is a member of the dance training mentor team. He is regularly solicited as a coach and hosts workshops and masterclasses organized by theatre studio Nest, OPENDOEK, University of Antwerp, deDansPunt, Let's Go Urban Academy, scenography education KASKA, Zuidpool, Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, The Amsterdam School of the Arts & Fontys School of the Arts.

In 2015 BARRY is founded on the need to create an environment where Karel’s personal hybrid own work can be developed, be made and be distributed. He is rethinking the way of using film, live performance and installation to move towards a more personal, intimate and honest embodiment within the arts. Since 2019, BARRY (BE) has a long-term collaboration together with DansBrabant (NL).

In 2020, he starts as a researcher in the arts at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, with the support of the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp. His project The transparent body (2020 - 2022) is a practice-based search for genuine embodiment in current 2D and 3D portrait arts. How is a visual artist actually looking at the human figure? It is a tipping point in which he grafts his vision of what sincere embodiment within performative art is, and can be, on to the visual arts. 
Thereafter, Karel starts his doctoral research in the arts; Als de kunstenaar zijn beeld inslikt (When the artist swallows his image) (2022-2026) is an in-depth trajectory which digs into the seldom explored domain of embodied knowledge within the relationship between the maker and their image of somebody. He explores the role that the maker's unique physicality plays in depicting someone else. Throughout this journey, he looks at ways to arrive at more reciprocal and sustainable relationships between different artistic disciplines, finds new inter-medial forms, further develops his inclusive vision and explores its scope.

Of great importance to him is the cross-pollination interaction between his performing, his lecturing, and his research and work as a maker. His fascination for embodiment and physicality within the arts plays a key role in this triangle.       (photo © Joery Erna) 

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