Danny Devos aka DDV (° 1959 Vilvoorde, BE) is an influential Belgian artist working in performance, body art, installations and industrial music since the late 1970s. He explores existential, social and artistic border situations and often seeks confrontation with his audience.
He created 160 performances, many dealing with endurance, personal danger and psychological terror.
His 1990s sculptures and installations are inspired by true crime, and a fascination for motiveless crime, for which he corresponded with several multiple murderers in Belgium and the U.S.A. Not the crimes as such interest DDV, but the uncontrollable urge and the psychological profile of the murderer, which is similar to the creative process and the psychology of the artist. This statement is the core of DDV's complete body of work.
On 26 February 2006, DDV started one of his most extensive pieces : 'Diggin’ for Gordon', more or less as a tribute to Gordon Matta-Clark (1943 - 1978) who made his last monumental art work 'Office Baroque' in Antwerp in 1977).
For over six years DDV was digging a hole of 130 x 130 cm, at an undisclosed location in Antwerp. In the end he reached a depth of over six meters. The performance could be followed 24 hours a day through a webcam.
'Diggin’ for Gordon' hosted several 'mash-up' pieces referring to artists from the 1970s American Avantgarde such as Dan Flavin (a slant row of fluorescent light fixtures to provide light in the pit), James Lee Byars (the discovery of Byars' empty tomb to get rid of the earth DDV dug up) or Vito Acconci (a ladder to climb in and out of the pit).
The 'Diggin’ for Gordon' project evolved into the fictitious 'Bastard Art Gallery' which hosted openings and other events, performances, installations and several online projects. DDV’s social radicalism about the art practice andthe imperialism of art institutions led him to investigate similarities between the 1970s American Avantgarde and the 1970s radical city guerrilla of the Rote Armee Fraktion and the Black Panther Party. This resulted in the 'Bastard Art Gruppe', with controversial web campaigns, pamphlets, posters, performances and street art actions in 1970s revolutionary iconographic style, including merchandise such as t-shirts and hoodies.
(BAG – Bastard Art Gruppe, Texte und Materialien zur Geschichte der BAG, ed. Bastard Art Gallery, 2008)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDJZItHEuJA / www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQPO_lSbKIs
From 1999 to 2009, DDV has been travelling extensively through Asia. His experiences merged into a large installation with 423 photos/waxprints on paper first presented at Annie Gentils Gallery in 2012. 'Roadside Temples and Dhammapada Verses' compiles 423 photos of 'roadside temples' in Thailand, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Russia and several European countries. Each photo is linked to one of the 423 Dhammapada Verses.
In 2012 a major publication about DDV's performances was published. 'Performan-DDV' contains 160 performances from 1979 to 2011 in 320 pages with colour photos and a long interview by Jacoba Bruneel.
Due to a serious bicycle accident in 2013 there have been no performances since 2013. Instead DDV presented several highly environmental and interactive installations. For 'Picnic at Hanssenspark' in De Bond in Brugge, he rebuilt a park from his birth town Vilvoorde on a 1/10 scale. The installation included 45m3 of soil, 100kgs of seeds, over 1000 flower bulbs and hundreds of perennial plants and weeds, all grown in the 450m2 exhibition space. A bridge, ruin and several cabins were built from scrap office furniture. Several sculpure-machines, audioplayers, posters and video projections based on his 'Birth(+)Fact(x)Death(-)Calendar' completed the setup.
'Hit the deck, Robin. I'll get us out of this. b/w But it was scary for a while, wasn't it?' was a large wall construction piece for 'Haperende Mens' at Arte et Amicitiae in Amsterdam. The wall moved very slowly from one side of the room to the other, until it reached the fixed walls of the building and bounced back in the other direction. Visitors of the exhibition were either trapped on one or the other side of the wall. One side of the wall construction was covered with real growing grass, the other side was covered with sharp spike strips.
From 1985 to the present, DDV publishes his 'Birth(+)Fact(x)Death(-)Calendar'. In the 1980s the Calendar was published as a now rare xeroxed booklet. As of the 1990s it was kept as a computer database. Since 2007 it was published daily as a blog. Since 2013 it is hosted and daily updated on a dedicated website. Every day a list of striking events is compiled from the database and published on various websites and social media.
wheniwasbuyingyouadrinkwherewereyou.blogspot.com / www.birthfactdeathcalendar.net / twitter.com/performan_ddv