From April 26th until May 27th, 2018, KETELEER Gallery will present Philippe Van Wolputte’s first solo exhibition since joining the gallery.
Since 2006 Van Wolputte has been very productive in exploring urban landscapes, staging performanc-es, recording these performances and building installations in various galleries and museums. Prior to his formal education, his focus was already set on what is still the main topic of his artistic explorations: abandoned, forgotten, but most of all devalued urban locations awaiting demolition as they no longer serve a purpose in the current economical/utilitarian hierarchy. Sometimes he reclaims these sites by repurposing them as ‘Temporary Penetrable Exhibition Spaces’ (TPES), or by marking them with a dis-tinct grid. Other times he re-uses and re-activates these sites by creating his own pathways through what appeared to be almost fossilized, inert spaces. By documenting these actions (via photography and video recordings) Van Wolputte takes us on a journey where it is unclear where we are going and what we are fighting against but reminds us of the strong effect architecture has on us. Crawling through dark corridors, breaking through walls, inhaling the dust of the past, … makes it clear, these places have not completely died yet. On the contrary, their silence carries the innumerable voices of lives and realities passed.
In all his works Van Wolputte uses a distinct aesthetic, reminiscent of ‘60s and ‘70s performance pieces, purposely and ironically romanticizing his artistic practices and lending them a, be it constructed, urban melancholia.
For this exhibition Van Wolputte is showing what appears to be found constructions but are actually newly made ‘decors’. He white-washes the windows of greenhouses as has been done for decades to the windows of empty stores to keep out the gaze of passers-by. It’s almost as if there’s a great shame to the inactive building, not unlike the shame of the unemployed citizen. Inside the greenhouses we find exam-ples of what could be the artist’s workplace, the traces of his process. But they aren’t, they’re staged. And we are left wondering how much is a story and how much this matters.
Van Wolputte too, doesn’t tell the whole story. He won’t give us a clear view of what lies behind his practice and plays a dubious game of uncovering and hiding, colliding the past with the present, claiming no new truths but turning old ones inside out.
Philippe Van Wolputte lives and works in Antwerp, graduated from St. Lucas, Antwerp in 2006, was a resident artist at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam and won the Young Belgian Art Prize, awarded by ING Belgium in 2013. Selected solo exhibitions took place at LLS387 – Antwerp, 2017; M HKA – Antwerp, 2015, Be-Part – Waregem, 2015; Chert Gallery – Berlin, 2010; Wilfried Lentz – Rotterdam, 2008 – 2009; Levy Delval – Brussels, 2017; Art Rotterdam, 2014.
Selected group exhibitions include KUMU Kunstmuseum - Talinn, 2016; Pavillon de l’Arsenal – Paris, 2016; Z33 – Hasselt, 2016; CAB – Brussels, 2017; Komplot – Brussels, 2015; BOZAR – Brussels, 2013; Art Brussels, 2012; Middelheim Museum – Antwerp, 2009; Zentrum Paul Klee – Bern, 2008; NICC – Antwerp, 2008; Klemm’s Gallery – Berlin, 2010; Kunsthal Rotterdam, 2012.