In 1913, Marcel Duchamp presented his Bicycle Wheel, followed by several works consisting of found objects, which later on would be defined as Ready-Mades.
Just over a decade later Belgian artist Xavier Mary (°1982, Brussels) plants industrial mass production objects within the walls of the gallery space, giving a contemporary twist to this art historical term. Additionally, Ghent based artist Simon Laureyns (°1979, Ghent) hits the streets in search for large billboards covered with advertising posters to peel them off and decontextualize them into blue monochromes.
Both artists, although differing formally, complement each other by exhibiting work obtained from a dual out- and indoor practice, transferring the streets within the walls of the gallery space.
The work of Simon Laureyns exposes a dynamic approach towards painterly abstraction. Considering himself first and foremost a painter, Laureyns expands his practice beyond the walls of his studio. Visual considerations regarding the finding of an image merge with an attentive awareness of his daily surrounding, seeking images ‘that paint themselves’.
Thick, extracted layers of billboard posters, turned around and spread over the floor of the artist’s studio are the canvas on which Laureyns creates his compositions – not by addition or extraction but by careful selection. After researching the surface, a chosen part is stretched over a canvas frame. Remnants of the arbitrary ripping off process and hints of underlying signs result in well-balanced painterly compositions, eliminating any notion that defined the original.
The oeuvre of Xavier Mary is being described as “somewhere between the ancient, the brand new and yet-to-come. Past, present and future are entangled in non-linear ways that are a trademark of the contemporary artistic climate.” (Pieter Vermeulen)
By using a formal hybridity of industrial objects often referring to highway elements, Xavier Mary relocates specific components and objects turning them into monumental sculptures. Mary reinterprets the classic “Duchampian” Ready-Made, which is illustrated in a straight forward way in the work Tree of Woe (2014), a piece the artist found in an auto body shop in a dodgy area in New-York during a residency. The work forms a direct reference to Duchamp’s Bottle Rack (1914), an iconic piece created exactly one decade earlier.
The work of both artists complements each other, formally as well as substantively; the clear-cut monumental sculptures and recurrent blue monochromes -each in their own way- function as remnants of our modern surroundings.