Metal giants, ceramic gods and other strange creatures: Antony Gormley, Johan Creten and Folkert de Jong in Brussels

Just some pieces of metal, I know, but I can’t help finding them very moving, those two, lying there. Just as the other guy, seemingly disappearing into thin air. Or that Mr. Big, a tiny bit too tall for the hallway he finds himself in. You think you know all the tricks Antony Gormley has up his sleeve, but I can’t help it: being in the presence of his works of art always touches me. It’s one of at least three interesting sculpture shows in galleries in Brussels, right now.

I wonder what would happen if I would have one of his sculptures at home. Would I be talking to it? Would I give it a name? Would I find it scary to live in its presence? Sorry, just me and my imagination. When you look at LIVING ROOM, the center piece of the exhibition at Xavier Hufkens (through April 8), from aside, the sculpture looks like an architect’s maquette. Walk up the stairs and look at LIVING ROOM from above, it resembles some kind of map. Apart from being part of that ongoing investigation into things such as geometry, space and abstraction, LIVING ROOM focuses on the human body as a house. The body containing and being the home of a self. (More pics here. A Utopia Parkway conversation with Gormley about beauty here.)

Just around the corner from Xavier Hufkens, at Almine Rech, you’ll find another interesting ensemble of sculptures, by Belgian artist Johan Creten (through April 8). A nice combination of a couple of series. Three big black poles cast in bronze (Massu), 8 Gods in glazed ceramics, and a couple of stools you can sit on, to take a rest and admire the view. Points d’admirations, they are called, and yes, they resemble mooring posts, as they were originally created for a show in France, called La Traversée, the crossing. (More pics here, short video impression plus interview with gallerist Almine Rech here.)

And thirdly I have to mention Folkert de Jong‘s blue totems. I saw them a few weeks ago already, at MonChéri (through April 1), but for some reason I can’t seem to get them out of my head. Is it the overwhelming baby blueness of the ensemble? Or is it due to the fact – just as with that Mr. Big at Xavier Hufkens – that the room seems to be to small for this weird group of creatures? Anyway, inspired by a Lincoln totem in the Alaskan town of Tlingit, somewhere around 1867, the Dutch artist focuses on power and abuse, putting side to side Lincoln, Fidel Castro and Snoop Dogg, and creating them with material that is often used for construction work, invented by companies that were also linked to the construction of weapons of mass destruction. (More pics here.)

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