Portraits made from recycled materials

(18-01-2023) In the stairwell of Block F on Campus Coupure, the portrait of Margareta van Eyck hangs casually next to Vermeer's 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'. Icons from our Western art history, but with local faces of the campus and recycled props.

For the Photoanalysis course at the Mariakerke's Kisp, Marc Verschraeghen, an employee at Campus Coupure for more than 33 years and now IT and multimedia specialist at Building F, once set up the plan to portray all the employees of the Department of Animal Sciences and Aquatic Ecology.

Together with fellow costumiers Brigitte, Emmy and Jolien, Marc has been spending a lot of his free time behind his camera for a black canvas roll-up. Their pop-up studio at this faculty has since accounted for some fifteen striking, artistic portrait photos.  

Our method is as simple as it is original: first, we look for an image of a historical or a fictional figure from our (art)history. Then we gather recyclable material from our (lab)environment and model the volunteer colleague as closely as possible to the original.


This unusual form of team building already provided Marc and his associates with a beautiful Vermeer girl. One with a mirrored glass Christmas ball in her left ear and a blue pmd bag around a yellow garbage bag as a headscarf. A stern-looking Roman Emperor Nero is also represented, although this time the head of state has a shrimp colored in gold as a tourniquet pin and a crown of shrimp chips around the head.

Also to be spotted: quite a few portraits genre Jan van Eyck or Rembrandt van Rijn, but surrounded by bubble wrap, coffee filters, soda cans, spiral hoses and cable ties. Still in the pipeline: a picture of Don Quixote with metal attributes, an effigy of Bach and a portrait of Neptune with his trident.

The dream of Marc and his team members is to one day get the dean of this faculty in front of their lens. Until then, a visit to the stairwell of Block F is definitely worthwhile!

  • An inspiring story on, about or around the FBE faculty? Feel free to let us know by sending an email to communicatie.fbw@ugent.be