WIM DELVOYE: INSURRECTIONARY ART NOT SUITABLE FOR GENERAL AUDIENCES
Sep 19, 2019
Wim Delvoye has just said goodbye to the monographic exhibition dedicated to him by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, in Brussels, in a risky proposal in which the subversive sculptural work of the artist lived together with the classical pieces of the museum's collection.
If something is evident in Delvoye's work, it is his desire to stir consciousness and offer an openly critical reading of our globalised environment. It is not difficult to notice a message that mocks the models established in our society with an ironic language that portrays the hypocrisy of our time. The intentional use of contemporary referents in seemingly absurd or improper contexts produces a clash of ideas that opens the door to reflection. Between disgust and complicity, the spectators of their work face a transgressive discourse that rarely leaves them indifferent.
Another factor that favours the impact of his speech is the choice of formats. Delvoye is not satisfied with small pieces but he goes big, with sculptures and installations that achieve a great presence in space. In this way, the assembly of the exhibitions manages to break the stillness of the rooms and generate a true dialogue between the past and the future. The author, already a veteran in these proposals organised in classical museums, such as the Louvre or the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, appreciates the opportunity to make contemporary and historical art coexist because it attracts an audience that to some extent has already lost interest in the old. Thus, the exhibition "Sculptures" of Brussels is located in the middle of the halls and exhibition galleries under the watchful eye of the characters of Rubens, arranged in the walls painted in salmon and aquamarine.
Delvoye's extensive work also plays with the variety of disciplines and techniques, in addition to the use of classicism and references taken from the entire history of art. The result is disturbing. Long ago he had presented a controversial sculpture in which a Christ was twisted on himself like a pretzel and exposed in front of an oil painting that represented the burial of Jesus Christ. The same can be said of his piece "Cloaca New and Improved", or simply "Cloaca", introduced by a massive sign with this word that emulates the Ford logo, in which it represents, as an assembly line with glass containers and laboratory material, a complete digestive process whose result is as expected: faeces served in a huge beaker. We also highlight the installation "Cabinet", a set of ceramic pieces that represent gas bottles and circular saw blades painted in blue with the traditional Delf style and arranged in a wooden display cabinet handmade in Indonesia. This work seeks to raise awareness about the effects of the colonial occupation and its impact on the course of history, and how this concept is treated forces us to rethink what we see to go beyond the visible.
With an exquisite execution, Delvoye dares with numerous materials that gradually surrender to the impulse of his ideas. Be it metal, or stone, the whole of his work is eclectic and difficult to classify. Perhaps we could group it under a common guiding thread that is the desire to question the status quo of things, the supposed benefits of this galloping modernity that alienates us and traps us, but also gives us the freedom to carry out projects such as the ones this author poses, and make them live with the past of art. We live in a disturbing world. Thanks, Delvoye.