In Michaël Aerts’ sculptures, drawings and performances, the importance of references to the European or global cultural and historical past is pivotal. Equally important is the exploration of the potential of the symbols, the codes, the forms and functions of that very heritage with respect to the arts, the artist, and 21st century man. Michaël Aerts’ monumental sculptures, for instance, are formally based on historical models (the bust, the obelisk,…) but are usually realised in flight case material which is traditionally used for the transport of, for instance, musical instruments. In this way, the typical contemporary dimension of mobility is projected onto a traditionally immobile type of sculpture. In an era where all sorts of codes and systems of meaning are often focused on stability but nevertheless continuously shifting, Michaël Aerts sets out to reflect upon how we are to deal with our rich heritage.
Versus4, Oudenaarde, Belgium, 2007
About Michaël Aerts
Deeply attuned to cultural legacies, especially those of Europe, Michaël Aerts is best known for monumental sculptures based on historic models. In reinterpreting classical forms such as busts and obelisks, he explores the relevance of traditional symbols, codes, and forms in the context of the 21st century. In The Obelisk, Home Edition (2009), for example, an obelisk completely loses its original monumental character and purpose as a means of worshiping the gods. In foregoing traditional materials in favor of light-weight industrial material, Aerts renders a typically immobile type of sculpture moveable—stripping it of its permanence and stability, and ultimately stressing the vulnerability of cultures and civilizations.
Belgian, b. 1979