JOS DE GRUYTER & HARALD THYS
18.1 – 22.2.2020
For the Winter of 2020, dépendance presents BEINGS, an exhibition of sculptures by an international selection of artists. The works in the exhibition explore narratives of sculpture in which artists have sought to replicate the literal, living presence of the body and body related objects. The styles ranged from realism to symbolism. The subjects varies from ordinary individuals to creatures of imagination… the sculptures explore the uncanny confrontation of the artificial and the real while simultaneously responding to the multiple representations of human identity in the present-time world.
The display traces various modes of representation that have come to define figurative sculpture in recent years. Bringing together artists of diverse generations and genres, the exhibition centres on the figure as a reflective object. The sculptures are a somewhat muted sense of humour and horror tinged with confusion. The ambiguity of the works lays in ‘doubts’ about whether an apparently animate being is really alive; or conversely, whether a lifeless object might not in fact be animate.
BEINGS will run from 18 January to 22 February 2020. Artists in the exhibition include Rachel Harrison (b. 1966, USA), Danny McDonald (USA), Oscar Murillo (b. 1986, Colombia), Henrik Olesen (Born 1967, Denmark) Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys (b.1965, Geel, Belgium – b. 1966 , Wilrijk, Belgium), Andreas Slominski (Born 1959, Germany), Nora Schultz (b. 1975, Germany), Monika Stricker (b. 1978 Germany) and Stefan Tcherepnin (b. 1977, USA).
Rachel Harrison’s complex works upend traditional apparatuses of display to examine the bounds of sculpture. In The Alpinist, a Rubbermaid Cooler acts as an unlikely pedestal to a host of consumer goods: an ice cube tray, a Rosetta Stone headset, a bag of plastic oranges, and an MTLIDER universal charger.
Danny McDonald has long been interested in major and minor heroes and villains, staples of postwar American consumer culture. These figures are repurposed by the artist in ways that complicate their prescribed roles and spotlight their laughable standing.
Oscar Murillo is an artist whose practice encompasses works on paper, sculptures, installation, performance, and video, often using texts and recycled materials. His work focuses on the notion of cultural exchange and the circulation of images and objects. The work presented here was originally created for Palais Attems, Graz. It engages with the decaying and often disproportionate grandeur of the Baroque. Subjecting plush furniture and bread to vandalism, Murillo not only dismantles a fantasy of former sumptuousness that still circulates globally as a style today; he also remembers some of its own past violence.
The work of Henrik Olesen is based on sculpture and collage, dealing with techniques of the self, narrations of abstraction, and sexuality. His work develops within work-blocs, including language, poetry and text, discussing thereby the spatial appearance of language as body. The presented glass box represents a body part, questions through ritual of body and language, a coalition of identities echoing the ‘atomic’ and ‘sound’, non-anatomical body, proclaimed by Antonin Artaud.
In the thirty years spent working together Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys have given shape to a heterogeneous and complex corpus of works. The artists have made numerous sculptural and videos that use poppets and portraits as their subject. One of their main interests is portraying the human being, its behaviour alone as well as in groups. The characters are portrayed are often those that can be considered marginalised in society. The faces and bodies are often simplified or even abstract presented almost as caricatures in an absurd, artificial world.
In his art, Andreas Slominski combines humor, sarcasm, engagement absoluteness. He is a master of aesthetic double strategies. On a major 2016 exhibition at the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Slominski made a stunning color-coordinated installation of over one hundred portable toilets arranged throughout the space. On view here one assembled toilets unit is unconventionally installed on the gallery wall. The toilette is bright-blue chosen by Slominski, transform from ordinary utilitarian object into playful sculpture. In its pristine state, shipped directly from the manufacturer, it is imbued with a seductive materiality that belies its intended function.
Monika Stricker’s sculpture This is not a hard day shows a colourful rock like object. Embedded at one side, in a closely cropped perspective, a blue penis. Erotic, fearless/open, without being portrayed by a man, Isolated from any context.
Stefan Tcherepnin work was originally created for the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in late 2018. The installation is an immersive narrative environment, freezing in time a moment as experienced by the large monster. More approachable than scary, the furry stuffed creature is captured in diorama environment, as if on display in an imagined alien natural history museum.