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Owl (2008) by Thomas Houseago overlooks the living room in the Antwerp, Belgium, home of Vincent Van Duysen.
Photo: Jose Manuel Alorda

Vincent Van Duysen Explains His Personal Connection to a Sculpture by Thomas Houseago

The architectural designer discusses the tactile appeal of the striking mask-like work of art

Vincent Van Duysen. Photo: Zeb Daemen

I’m an art collector but not an impulsive art collector. I have two pieces by Thomas Houseago, who is represented by Xavier Hufkens, a close friend of mine. The one called Owl is a mask, which might suggest the owl, but it can also be an abstract face of an ancient Greek or Roman. The front is polished, then it’s rough on the inside with metal bars to hold it structurally. You see the artist’s hands in it. He fixed it on top of a brutal wooden pedestal, which connects to my aesthetic. I am kind of a perfectionist, but I also love the beauty of some controlled imperfections as well. 

The piece usually stands at the center of my living room in Antwerp. Any time when I’m sitting there, I look at it. And when I come in, it looks at me. It’s kind of like a protector with one eye open and one eye closed. It’s an energetic artwork, but it’s also calming.

Owl (2008) by Thomas Houseago overlooks the living room in the Antwerp, Belgium, home of Vincent Van Duysen. Photo: Jose Manuel Alorda

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A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2022 Fall Issue in the section In Focus. Subscribe to the magazine.

Cover: Owl (2008) by Thomas Houseago overlooks the living room in the Antwerp, Belgium, home of Vincent Van Duysen.
Photo: Jose Manuel Alorda

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