Why are they staring at me? ‘Les énigmes de Saarlouis’ by Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys (Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp)
No, not those nudes by Naoto Kawahara (Zeno X). Not that angel skeleton by Elke Andreas Boon (MX7), nor that girl without a head and those school benches by Sofie Muller (Geukens & De Vil). As I was sipping my tea after I had done my tour of a couple of Antwerp galleries, I realized that it was the strange exhibition by acclaimed Belgian duo Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys that was lingering in my mind: Les énigmes de Saarlouis (Micheline Szwajcer, through March 10).
Those 39 men (‘stolen faces’) staring at me, and that endless series of absurd riddles in French proposed on video by two polystyrene mannequins with glasses with their whining computer voices. Yes, those drawings are rather simple, that video is too (this certainly isn’t about craftmanship), but there’s something about the absurdness, the weirdness and the sinisterness of it all which makes this show compelling. Or are they just really clever, and is this just the way it goes with riddles: your mind will not rest until it has come up with the answer? In case you were wondering: De Gruyter & Thys are artists to be reckoned with. They have exhibitions coming up at MuKHA (Antwerp) and Palais de Tokyo (Paris) in 2013.
(all images courtesy Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp)