The wizard of Oz lost in space: Anselm Reyle’s dazzling new mish-mash

As if Andy Warhol had tried to mix The wizard of Oz and Star Wars. That’s how it looked to me, as I walked into the big hall of Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens (Deurle), last Sunday, and saw what German artist Anselm Reyle had done to it. Walls covered with tin foil, a hay-cart sprayed in fluorescent pink paint, neon lights, broken mirrors and debris scattered here and there, of course the wagon wheel that has become one of Reyle’s signature pieces, and even a piece of Spiderman carpet. His Elemental threshold is a dazzling, theatrical mish-mash, with Marcel Duchamp, abstract painting and lots of kitsch thrown in. Yes, Reyle (who admires Jeff Koons) deliberately plays with tastelessness, but that didn’t prevent him from becoming a collector’s favorite. By now his works get auctioned off for record prices and he’s able to keep a studio with more than 20 employees (!). And when a book was published, last year, documenting his work, fashion designer turned photographer Hedi Slimane (ex-Dior) took the pictures of Reyle at work in his studio. It goes without saying that kids loved all of this, during the vernissage. There’s another reason to go to Dhondt-Dhaenens before April 11, because the museum has a nice exhibition by Belgian painter Ellen De Meutter too.

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