Pottery and couscous: sculpture communism according to Jan De Cock (‘Everything for you, Otegem’, Deweer Gallery)

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Controversial? That’s the least you can say. He might have been the first (living) Belgian artist with a solo show at MoMA (NY), but that doesn’t mean Jan De Cock is revered by everyone. It’s always fun to hear him talk about his art, but I find it difficult to fully grasp his work. There’s always an aspect of the artist as a con man, I think, to what he is doing. A feeling I couldn’t shed as I was standing in Deweer Gallery‘s big exhibition space, in that small Flemish village of Otegem, looking at dozens of sculptures (Nature Mortes); as an exercise in endlessly re-arranging the same elements (couscous, fake jewellery, party garlands…). Everything for you, Otegem (through Dec. 8) is the second part of a series of exhibitions. As he did in Mexico for the first part, De Cock plans to take some of his sculptures (‘gifts’) to socially relevant places in Flanders, photograph them, and redistribute those pictures. Sculpture communism, as he likes to call it. But so far, nothing has come of that. In the 2nd room at Deweer De Cock has placed four big sculptural installations. If you ask me, a somewhat easy and rather unsuccessful attempt at ‘filling’ that vast space.

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