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BENJAMIN VERDONCK Vakantiehuisjes, 2013 190 x 120 x 240 cm mixed media
Through to 9th March 2013 www.timvanlaeregallery.com
Go see oowendeseejntskommaartsjingin, Benjamin Verdonck’s second solo exhibition at Tim Van Laere Gallery Antwerp.
The hybrid production of Benjamin Verdonck (b. 1972, Antwerp; lives and works in Antwerp) is hard to merge under a single label. He is a writer, a theater producer and a visual artist using various media. Moreover, he not only shows his work in museums and galleries (Collection Wiels, M HKA, LLS 387) or in theaters, but also conducts a dialogue with public space (Track/S.M.A.K., Ghent; LODZ/BOOT/BOAT, Poland). Benjamin’s personal interpretation of public space uses poetic strategies, expressed in enigmatic, playful works. The show at Tim Van Laere Gallery assembles visual documents, from scale models to pictures and collections of objects from his performances and installations. His totem sculptures (Bond of Friendship and L’Halle d’Embarquement de l’Arche) are constructed from colorful brand names.
‘Whether I want it or not, I know all those brands, they belong to the collective memory. They are part of my world. It’s impossible to resist them, which would have me stand outside of my world. So I try to embrace them, charge them with a different meaning, revalorize them, find peace with them.’
In other works, like ABC, Wanneer de houthakker … or Hebban olla vogala …, brand names, logos and products correspond with letters of the alphabet.
Benjamin is also the author of a ‘Charter for an active participation of the scenic arts in a transition towards equitable sustainability.’ In Kinderval and je kan niet alles in twee snijden he approaches this theme from the perspective of the human physical condition. ‘Imagine if we were only half as big as we are now; it would immediately change everything. We would have a much smaller ecological footprint and our relationship with animals and trees would be much more impressive and would probably even assume mythical proportions.’