Failed Love

René Vandenbrink

René Vandenbrink is a London, Ontario based artist working primarily with textiles and printmaking. Her process based work explores collecting, interactions with nature, recycling, surface design and experimenting with handmade techniques in environmentally sustainable ways. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors Specialization in Studio Art from the University of Western Ontario and an Art Studies Certificate in Vocational Art from BealArt. Further education continues through courses, employment and collaborations with Western University, the Canadian Embroiderers’ Guild London, Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild Southwestern Ontario Chapter, London District Weavers and Spinners and the Japanese Paper Place. Her work has been exhibited at Artlab Gallery, Forest City Gallery and The Westland Gallery in London, Ontario, at the shoe box gallery, Graven Feather, the Japanese Paper Place, and OCADU’s Graduate Gallery in Toronto, Ontario as well as Art Mûr in Montreal, Quebec.


René Vandenbrink, Failed Love, 2018, digital photograph.

René Vandenbrink, video still from Failed Love, 2018,
0:22 minutes, color, no language.

René Vandenbrink, Failed Love Resting Place, 2018, digital photograph.

These images are documentation from my Failed Love performance at Port Bruce Provincial Park, Ontario in 2018.

In the spring of 2018, I decided to document and dissect my failed romantic relationships. After examining the relationships, I identified each partner’s characteristics. Each partner was represented by a fossil that had been collected along the shores of Lake Erie. The fossil was wrapped and bound in washi of various colours, thicknesses and textures. These paper-wrapped fossils were then enveloped in cheesecloth and secured with handspun tissue paper thread. The nine wrapped fossils were driven to the nearest beach in early May and hurled into frigid waters of Lake Erie. This process allowed me to identify harmful traits, neutralize them through binding and cast them to the most shallow and therefore roughest of the Great Lakes to be smashed along the shore and eroded. Through Failed Love I rid myself of individuals who had caused me pain over the years by symbolically enacting a kind of bio-conscious revenge.

Please note, the washi used in this series was sustainably produced in Japan, the cheesecloth was made of 100% cotton and the tissue paper spun into thread were all compostable so that the environment of the provincial park would not be harmed during this performance. The fossils were being returned to the lake from where they originated. It was not my intention for the environment or other living creatures to be harmed during this performance. The performance’s underlying design and construction was to bring balance to the world we share.


Pour citer cette page

René Vandenbrink, « Failed Love », MuseMedusa, no 8, 2020, <https://archives.musemedusa.com:443/dossier_8/vandenbrink/> (Page consultée le 03 December 2022).


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