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Vitrine Candles Tim Onderbeke hero


DING vitrine

by Tim Onderbeke

3 Candles cover

Candles is a photographic essay by Tim Onderbeke. Fascinated by the sacred, ritual, and cerebral act of lighting a candle, the artist began collecting images of candles and candlesticks in an artistic or art-historical context. In Candles, Onderbeke uses his own work and that of others to research what he calls “the colour of darkness,” or negative space – a concept he borrowed from the Japanese writer Jun’ichirō Tanizaki.

Tanizaki describes this intense experience he had in a large, dark room of a Japanese tea house where the light of a few candles made the surrounding darkness feel tangible, as if it turned into monolithic matter. Onderbeke sees a burning candle as an implosion of architectural space where the centre is usually kept empty. A burning candle in a dark room reverses that experience, and influences our perception of space, time and atmosphere.

A selection of candlesticks (some from the collection of Design Museum Gent) shown in the book are physically brought together in DING vitrine in a scenography designed by Tim Onderbeke from 24.10.2022 until 27.11.2022.

We will close the last exhibition day festively with a warm drink by candlelight at 16:00.

Candles is available in bookstores or via

Tim Onderbeke, CANDLES : a photographic novel, MER. (Borgerhoff & Lamberigts), 2022

Object details

VITR CANDLES Tim O plattegrond2
  • Candlesticks

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    Christopher Dresser (manufactured by Richard Perry, Son & Co.)
    Kordofan (chamberstick), 1883
    sheet metal, lacquer, spun brass, wood
    14.7 x 19.3 cm
    Collection Design Museum Gent

    Pieter De Bruyne
    Candlestick from a dining room ensemble, 1985
    gold, silver-plated metal
    29 x 15.8 cm
    Collection Design Museum Gent

    Damian O'Sullivan (for Hermès)
    Étrier (prototype), 2013
    stainless steel
    16 x 12.5 cm
    Courtesy of Damian O'Sullivan

    Gerard Kuijpers
    Small candlestick, 1991
    steel, glass
    15 x 7.5 x 6.5 cm
    Courtesy of Gerard Kuijpers

    Gerard Kuijpers
    Small candlestick, 1991
    steel, glass
    37 x 15.5 x 15.5 cm
    Courtesy of Gerard Kuijpers

    Huib Hoste (attributed)
    Candlestick from House Lens (Huib Hoste, 1934-1935, Mechelen, Belgium), 1934-1935
    black painted and nickel-plated iron, black painted wood
    20 x 8 cm
    Collection Jos Vandenbreeden, House Lens, Mechelen

    Paul Felix & Roger Bonduel
    Candlestick for the 'Poor Clares' Clares’ convent Zonnelied (Paul Felix, 1913-1981, Ostend, Belgium), 1957-1959
    10 x 13.3 x 6 cm
    Courtesy of Sister Trees of the Clares' Convent Zonnelied

    Tapio Wirkkala (manufactured by Kultakeskus Oy)
    TW 189 candlesticks, 1957 (1961)
    23.4 x 4.8 cm
    Collection Design Museum Gent

  • Photos

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    Historic photograph showing modernist candelabra in the interior of House Lens (Huib Hoste, 1934-35, Mechelen, Belgium). Pictured: Mrs Joris Lens (Juliette Goossens) and 2 of her children, Karl and Christine Lens, c. 1940
    reproduction, wooden frame
    12 x 7.5 cm
    Courtesy of Family Lens

    Historical photograph of bronze candlesticks by Le Corbusier in Couvent Sainte-Marie de La Tourette (Le Corbusier, 1960, Eveux, France), c. 1960
    gelatin silver print, wooden frame
    19 x 27 cm
    Courtesy of Tim Onderbeke

    Tim Onderbeke
    Kandelaar I (diptych), 2014

    Tim Onderbeke
    Kandelaar I (sculpture to study light and shadow), 2014
    glass, steel, rubber, handmade candles
    16 x 122 x 67 cm

    gelatin silver print on resin coated paper, wooden frame
    24 x 15.8 cm (2x)
    Courtesy of Tim Onderbeke

    Tim Onderbeke
    Digital image processing of a film still of Vremena Goda (eng: The Seasons / Four Seasons / Seasons of the Year), 1975, documentary, 29’: a film-essay by Artavazd Peleshian (director x writer) and Mikhail Vartanov (cinematographer) about Armenia's shepherds, the contradiction and the harmony between man and nature; scored to Vivaldi's Four Seasons. This image shows a candle being carried in a marriage procession, 2022
    xerox, wooden frame
    31 x 23.8 cm
    Courtesy of Tim Onderbeke

  • Off-site chandelier

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    Chandelier (six-sided core with forged branches, flowers, leafs and dragon heads and crowned with dragon figure, copy of gilded dragon on Ghent Belfry tower) in Sain Bavo’s Cathedral (Ghent), 1549
    wrought iron
    Courtesy of Saint Bavo’s Cathedral

    View this chandelier for free at St Bavo Cathedral 600 metres from the DING showcase.