Leila Heller Gallery Dubai presents the first gallery show in the UAE of the artist Wim Delvoye. Delvoye’s art at once upends the narrow strictures of the art world. His art is a fusion of deeply philosophical ideas, an experimental approach to the use of materials, and a deep immersion in the techniques of craftsmanship. The neo-conceptual artist brings together elements across time and space to create artworks that are at once shocking and stunningly beautiful. As he travels across Europe, the U.S., Asia and the Middle East, Delvoye immerses himself in local cultures. “I don’t feel I belong anywhere,” he explains. “I feel like a nomad. So I take inspiration from different cultures, whilst being very respectful of the places I go to.”
Whether working with craftsmen in Yunnan or Isfahan, Delvoye’s artistic approach has an ethnographic bent. He describes it as a form of multi-layered appropriation art, always beginning with an idea – then the materiality and design are built on a physical manifestation of that original idea. The process of art thus becomes a fusion of materials and themes. Speaking from his studio in Ghent, Delvoye explains his art stems from “a strange mix of my own personal life and larger geopolitical perspectives.
Delvoye’s art blends the traditional and the contemporary. So that traditional wood craft ornament is recast into tires embellished with beautifully detailed carvings. Traditional Islamic ornamentation is recast onto metal suitcases adorned with beautiful carvings inspired by Persian metalwork. The high art of gothic architecture merges with the ordinary in scale models of industrial machinery like concrete mixers. Applying precise mathematical theories and modern computerized technology to traditional crafts, he produces beautiful objects that push the boundaries of the expected. In the process, Delvoye extends the very meaning of art itself.
Born in 1965 Belgium, Wim Delvoye currently lives and works in Ghent, Belgium and Brighton, UK. His art has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions in such international museums as Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, the New Museum in NYC, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. Delvoye’s art is represented in major public collections worldwide. His work has been included in major group exhibitions such as Venice Biennale, Documenta IX, Sydney Biennale, Lyon Biennial, and Shanghai Biennale.