Patrick Van Caeckenbergh – Les Loques de Chagrin (De Smartlappen)
Zeno X Gallery is proud to announce Les Loques de Chagrin (De Smartlappen), the tenth solo exhibition of Patrick Van Caeckenbergh (°1960, Aalst). The Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent will host a retrospective about his work, opening in October 2017. Furhermore Patrick Van Caeckenbergh will donate his studio or so called ‘cigar box’ to the museum where it will be permanently on view.
Patrick Van Caeckenbergh schematizes, catalogues and, in this way, renders the world in an entirely unique manner. He makes interesting parallels between scientific theories, folkloristic tales, mythologies and other narratives. He formulates alternative thought patterns which are often very contemporary and critical.
The title of the exhibition derives from the installation Les Loques de Chagrin (La vie d‘Esope). In the small class room a collection of pictures of strange animal pairs can be found: a goat and a rhinoceros or a dog with piglets. Van Caeckenbergh offers an answer to the Austrian scientist Konrad Lorenz and his theory about instinctive behaviour. He shows us an alternative form of co-existence which could also be applied to humans. On the outside there are cardboard panels describing the life of the Greek poet Aesop, who became famous for his fables in which two animals have opposed moral values.
Les Ames Mortes is based on the figurative structure of human knowledge from the Encyclopedie by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert. Van Caeckenbergh presents this ‘tree of knowledge’ as human antlers on which he adds the most important people in his life, such as Dmitri Mendelejev and Marcel Proust to Alexander Calder and Ovid. The book, carrier of all knowledge, is depicted as an acoustical mnemonic device.
Genealogies – often in the form of a tree – have always been an important motif in the work of Van Caeckenbergh. They function as metaphors for his work; ideas or branches are interconnected, grow out of one another and originate from a root or basic theme.
The Kosmogonic Indigestion or The Greedy Snakes cover the topic of human greediness in our contemporary society. The egg is a universal symbol for the origin of the world, whilst the snake – because of its possibility to renew its skin – is often associated with eternal life. The snakes – presented as beans on a pole or stalk – have been too greedy and create from the superfluous a new cosmogony. Modesty and humility are however the only things that could save us, according to the artist.
Der Anatomische Mensch. Et Puis Pourquoi Sommes-Nous Faites en Viande? brings together several elements and themes from his earlier work. Since the nineties Van Caeckenbergh has cut out skin from pornographic magazines. He selects rectangles with no reference to the body or personal characteristics; censorship is for him a therapeutic activity which allows him to deal with the ‘gruesome’ visual reality of pornography. The ‘skins’ are then presented as stamps or music notes on a score. The crumbled anatomical figures refer to the violent images that we are confronted with on a daily basis through the media and emphasizes the relativity of the body.
Patrick Van Caeckenbergh has had important solo exhibitions at Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht (NL), Museum M in Leuven (BE), Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nîmes (FR), La Maison Rouge, Paris (FR), FRAC PACA, Marseille (FR), Museum M, Leuven (BE), amongst many others.
His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions as the Venice Biennial in 1993 and 2013, the Taipei Biennial in 2014, and in Tate Gallery, London (UK), the Centre Pompidou, Paris (FR), ICA, London (UK), De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam (NL), Culturgest, Lisbon (PT), the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL) and others.