Oh, how I wish I was working at Xavier Hufkens gallery (Brussels). To be able to look at that magnificent Mer Montée by Thierry De Cordier, every single day? Although: I think in the end it would start to haunt me in my dreams. I’m not a romantic!, is written, as a statement, on the wall of that front room at Hufkens, with that huge painting (oil paint, enamel and chinese ink on canvas, 170 x 270 cm). Anyone spending some time in front of the mesmerizing canvasses of this relatively small show (six paintings and a couple of études; through December 10) will immediately sense that it’s not about romanticism. But just to make himself very clear, the Belgian artist explains: ‘There’s nothing pleasing about a picture that works (otherwise it’s an image or something decorative). Workings, just workings. Not the landscape as such, nor its representation, but just the way it works. To my eyes this is the very essence of painting. Something different from the highly suggestive character of a romantic picture.’ Must-see.
Archive for Xavier Hufkens
‘La Montagne, c’est la Mer, et la Mer, c’est la Montagne’: mesmerizing new paintings by Thierry De Cordier (Xavier Hufkens)Posted in art with tags Brussel, Bruxelles, Thierry De Cordier, Xavier Hufkens on November 6, 2011 by Utopia Parkway
Flying cutlery, a mattress, butterflies and solid blocks of rock: just some things to see in BrusselsPosted in art, photography, sculpture with tags Adam Fuss, Alice Gallery, Brussels, Bruxelles, Greta Meert, Meessen De Clercq, Xavier Hufkens on October 13, 2011 by Utopia Parkway
Time flies. There are a couple of gallery shows in Brussels I had really wanted to talk about separately, but as some of them are almost over already, I thought I’d just post some images to help you decide if you need to include them in your tour. Don’t miss La vie mode d’emploi (Life a user’s manual) at Meessen De Clercq (through October 15), a wonderful group show including work by some 30 artists, as a tribute to the eponymous book by Georges Perec. Just around the corner Xavier Hufkens is presenting new work by Adam Fuss (through October 22). You’ll certainly be impressed by that gloomy first room with daguerreotype pictures. Antoine Bouillot is mixing kitsch and high fashion symbols in a strange way, throwing in some elements along the way to try and shock, at Alice Gallery (through October 29), and for a much more austere show, you’ll have to go to Greta Meert. Technique & Sentiment (through November 5) presents a selection of five young sculptors, curated by Didier Vermeiren.
Sometimes it’s just one painting that lingers in your mind. Sometimes it’s a body of work, in all its diversity, that stays with you. Take Italian, Los Angeles-based artist Alessandro Pessoli‘s new show at Xavier Hufkens (Brussels; through February 19), for instance. There’s something about Giulietta degli spiriti (la notte il giorno), a combination of paintings (oil, enamel and spray paint), collages (made with leftover material from his paintings), pencil on paper drawings, and painted ceramics (all work 2010). About the recurring elements, the colors, the binding themes and references to other painters (Picasso’s guitar), that holds all of this together (even though the artist applies a diversity of techniques). It makes you realize that you’ve just discovered a great artist (even though you might not be that fond of everything he has come up with). It’s one of those small exhibitions that proves that when a gallery show is well done and it’s more than just an offhand presentation of a couple of new works, it can be a wonderful introduction to an artist’s oeuvre. More images from Giulietta degli spiriti here. Older work here.
Ever since I walked into Willem de Kooning‘s The late paintings, the 1980′s at New York’s MoMA, on a rainy afternoon in 1997, and was completely blown away by those large, beautifully coloured paintings, I’ve been intrigued by the work artists produce at the end of their lives. And I’m not the only one. Cultural critic Edward W. Said even wrote a book about this theme (although it deals with music and literature only): On late style. (He died of leukemia when he was writing it.) Anyway, it’s the reason why I just had to show you this wonderful self-portrait by Richard Artschwager (86), that’s on display right now at Xavier Hufkens (Brussels; through December 11). It’s almost as if the New York-based artist is preparing for his own disappearance. Ghost, it is aptly called. Artschwager started out making furniture. He has been making sculptures and paintings for over four decades now. The other paintings at the small exhibition are totally different, with muted colours and an imagery evoking the work of Cézanne, Vuillard en Bonnard. Also on display at Hufkens right now are Sterling Ruby’s recent Metal works. Quite a contrast. For installation views of both exhibitions, check Xavier Hufkens on Facebook here.
I just hád to go back. Somehow I was convinced that those strange creatures would have grown, mutated or bred. Such is the power of David Altmejd‘s intriguing and ethereal compositions with swans and coloured thread in perspex boxes at Xavier Hufkens (till May 29; Brussels). Don’t miss the opportunity to see new work by this Canadian artist whose name skyrocketed after he had represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2007. Continue reading
Wine, Vedett and champagne everywhere, during that special gallery night for Art Brussels, yesterday. One highlight? I sure hope you didn’t miss out on the opportunity to go and visit Vanhaerents. The art collection of this Flemish collector wasn’t open to the public, but his ‘project room’ was. And just that big mirrored hall was worth the visit. On display (till March 2011) are Colossi, six enormous and dizzying mirror sculptures, by David Altmejd. The giants of this Canadian artist were first exhibited at the opening of the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art and are designed as classically inspired colossi. Vanhaerents Art Collection is only accessible by appointment (twice a month), but you can gawk at the colossi each second and fourth Friday of the month (6-8 PM) for just 1 euro. It’s better (and cheaper) than that mirror palace at the fun fair. In the meanwhile, Xavier Hufkens is showing work by Altmejd as well. More on that later.
That greyish print room where you’ll find a couple of his recent black-and-white watercolours sure is worth a visit too, but do not forget to go to the first floor, if you’re paying a visit to Hans Op de Beeck‘s show at Xavier Hufkens (Brussels). You’ll be able to catch his delightful black-and-white video Staging silence, which premiered earlier this year in Strombeek-Bever. Hands appear and disappear; scenes are built and deconstructed. Also on display at Hufkens, through April 10, are seven new and colorful oil paintings by British artist Malcolm Morley, who was the first to receive the Turner Prize, in ’84.
‘I LIKE THE FACT THAT ART CAN’T BE PROVEN’ (Sterling Ruby on beauty – The Utopia Parkway Files, part 4)Posted in art with tags Mike Kelley, Raf Simons, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sterling Ruby, Xavier Hufkens on January 10, 2010 by Utopia Parkway
One of the most interesting artists to emerge in this century? (According to The New York Times). Someone who has an affinity with the work of both photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and fashion designer Raf Simons? Someone who got attracted to art through the punk movement? It goes without saying that I had to go and ask American artist Sterling Ruby for his thoughts on beauty, as he was in Brussels for his show at Xavier Hufkens. ‘I probably like the way Raf Simons works more than the way most artists work.’ You’ll find the extensive interview after the jump.
‘Sterling Ruby is one of the most interesting artists to emerge this century.’ Not my words, but those of New York Times-critic Roberta Smith. So that’s already one reason to pay a visit to the new exhibition at Xavier Hufkens (Brussels). Another good reason is that the American artist combines his work with a selection of pictures of renowned American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. So even if you might not like Ruby’s ceramics, big stalagmites, massive urethane blocks or nail polish paintings, there’s always those classic Mapplethorpe’s to look at. A third reason is one for all you fashionista’s out there: Ruby is a favorite of Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons (who was present at the opening). Ruby has designed Simons’ Tokyo store (pictures here) and is working with Simons on a special jeans collection. (Sterling Ruby & Robert Mapplethorpe, until January 14)
Just a little leg, in marble. A gigantic, melting house. A big chocolate-like guy with a big pumpkin instead of a head. A little guy in a purple suit, without a head. And lots of ‘paintings’ with embroidered words. Going to Erwin Wurm‘s exhibition at Xavier Hufkens (Brussels) feels like stepping into a fairy tale written by an artist with a tendency towards the absurd. The Austrian artist is mostly known for his ‘one minute sculptures’, for which he lets people pose for one minute with everyday objects in quite a strange way. He just shot Claudia Schiffer with a yellow broom between her legs for the German edition of Vogue (for more of those weird pictures, click here), and the Red Hot Chili Peppers based their video for Can’t stop on his work (Flea calls Wurm his ‘long lost uncle’; for more about that video click here; for the video, click here). Had a busy week? Feeling grumpy? Go and check out Wurm’s lovely Desperate philosophers at Xavier Hufkens (till December 3). Even Swiss rock star Stephan Eicher did, during last night’s opening.
Vaseline and clingfilm. Renaissance and quantum mechanics. The Hubble space telescope and the Acropolis. Ask British sculptor Antony Gormley about ‘beauty’ and those are some of the things he will bring up. Quite surprisingly, beauty isn’t important to him at all. But in an other way… it nevertheless still is. ‘Maybe the most beautiful things are fugitive.’ I interviewed Gormley while he was in Brussels for his Xavier Hufkens-exhibition. You’ll find his thoughts on beauty after the jump.
Works of art I’ll never forget, part 37: standing on the terrace of London’s Hayward Gallery, looking at the skyline and discovering 31 man-sized figures, placed on top of buildings in the near and far distance (pictures: here). I’ve since become intrigued by the work of British sculptor Antony Gormley. He is showing recent work at gallery Xavier Hufkens, Brussels. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover one of Britain’s most renowned artists.