Jan De Cock, ‘Palais des Beaux Arts, 2009, REPROMOTION, Monument #12’, 2009, Deweer Gallery

The monumental, sculptural ensemble that is ‘Monument # 12’, was created as an autonomous part of the important Repromotion exhibition Jan De Cock made for the suite of 11 exhibition rooms of BOZAR – Centre of Fine Arts in Brussels in 2009. Today Repromotion is commonly considered one of the most crucial mile stones of the artist’s oeuvre.

Jan De Cock himself called the exhibition of which the title is a contraction of reproduction and motion, ‘one big cinematographic sculpture’; the visitor, while walking through the rooms, made a long ‘travelling’ along an enormous amount of forms and images; that motion was quintessential for a complete experience of the exhibition. But all 15 ensembles, that are equally entitled ‘Monument’ followed by a number, are full of movements. With his Repromotion sculptures, Jan De Cock has made works that alone by the specific nature of their composition (rhythm, repetition, stacking, shifting, intersections, fractures, …) evoke an illusion of movement. This aspect of motion leads towards a first distinction with De Cock’s previous Denkmal sculptures , that were much more static.

“The sculptural [Repromotion]ensembles are sideward and vertical stackings. Below they rest on white painted metal profiles that make us think of rails and that generate the illusion that the sculptures can slide into or out of each other; the profiles’ upper and lower sides are perforated by which they even make us think of filmstrips.” (Hans Theys in H-Art # 54, 16 July 2009, p. 3)
Or to quote the very words of Jan De Cock himself: “Good art is always looking for what is happening outside the image. Just like the endless columns of Brancusi or the in-between sculptures of Donald Judd. (…) I am a sculptor who is dealing with the space between things. With the in-between space, with the ‘hors champ.” (De Tijd, 11 July 2009, p. 44)

In Repromotion Jan De Cock thus clearly elaborates the theme of motion in modern sculpture. We can even observe more movement on another level, namely that of the development of the artist’s studio in the space. All sculptures from the Repromotion exhibition have at that time been made in the artist’s studio. In the exhibition itself they were to be considered as reproductions of the original studio creations. Jan De Cock: “In fact, every sculpture I make in my studio is at that time also part of the studio. Which means that I can reproduce it infinitely. This is all about the evocation of the infinite by means of sculpturally reproducing, copying, and photographing my studio, that as the original remains invisible.” (H-Art # 54, 16 July 2009, p. 3)
In that sense the Repromotion sculptures again differ from the Denkmal sculptures. The latter originated when the artist turned the exhibition space that was reserved for his exhibition, into his studio. They adapted themselves to their architectural environment.

‘Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis – Eine romantische Ausstellung / A Romantic Exhibition von / by Jan De Cock – Handbuch / Handbook’, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden – Baden, Duitsland, 2012, p. 64-99

the artist

About Jan De Cock

Jan De Cock borrows a film vocabulary in discussing his photography and installation works—particularly durée (passage of time) and mise-en-scène (staging for a camera), for describing the way his pieces frame and tell stories. De Cock commonly photographs landscapes and architecture, then displays the images as single frames of a larger sequence in conjunction with archival images, furniture, or architectural constructions made of plywood. As part of his interest in constructing historical narratives, he publishes artist’s books as indexes for his projects. De Cock’s compositions have a stripped-down quality that variously references Piet Mondrian’s paintings and Umberto Boccioni’s Futurist sculptures. “To me, Modernism is the most important period in art history,” he once said. “Dare I say that Post-Modernism did not exist?”

Belgian, b. 1976, Brussels, Belgium, based in Brussels, Belgium