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Press Releases - Dagmar De Pooter

PRESS RELEASE

14 march 2008 - 26 april 2008

Cel Crabeels (Belgium)

\"Landing\"

Cel Crabeels (°1958, Antwerp) examines the concept of “emptiness” as significant environment generating multiple interpretations. His work unfolds spatially, providing the visitor with visual images reduced to their essential qualities, linked with the physical experience of space. ‘Landing’ (2006) consists of video and sound recordings Crabeels made during a stay in Iceland. The desolate volcanic landscapes and geysers take on abstract and aesthetic qualities while, at the same time, appearing unearthly, like some sort of unformed lunar craters. With a minimum of intervention, in this series of images combined with sound fragments and spatial elaboration, Crabeels provides a profound experience. ‘Landing’, initially exhibited in the ‘Panoramic’ exhibition in BE-PART (Waregem), is currently on show at a new exhibition at the Dagmar De Pooter Gallery. Eva Wittocx (translation Dutch to English: Michael Laird)
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PRESS RELEASE

Opening 13 maart 2008, donderdag 18 – 21uur (Nocturne Antwerpen)

14 maart 2008 - 26 april 2008

Christine Clinckx (België) \"CIELO\"

\"soundscape\" by Michel Verkempink

Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate (‘Gij die hier binnentreedt, laat alle hoop varen’) luidt het opschrift boven de ingang van de hel, zoals die beschreven werd door Dante Alighieri. Dante’s Divina Commedia vormt de rode draad in de tentoonstellingen Cielo (Dagmar De Pooter Gallery) en Inferno (De Rode 7). Voor beide locaties, de eerste op Antwerpen Zuid, de tweede in Antwerpen Noord, realiseerde Clinckx enkele nieuwe werken.

Voor haar videoprojectie Het boek van de mens herfotografeerde Clinckx alle foto’s in het medische naslagwerk Het boek van de mens (1969) en verwerkte die tot een draaikolk van weglopend badwater. De plafondprojectie refereert aan de talrijke plafondschilderingen met hemelse scènes in kerken uit de 17de en 18de eeuw. Tegelijkertijd is er een duidelijke link met haar vroegere plafondprojectie Inferno (2001, collectie Stedelijk Museum Het Domein Sittard, NL) dat een kluwen van vuurrode, kronkelende reuzentongen toonde. Voor de rest wordt de galerieruimte in beslag genomen door een transparante, opblaasbare bal waar de bezoeker staand in plaats kan nemen. Daardoor neemt hij onbewust de houding aan van de zogenaamde ‘Vitruviaanse mens’, die vooral bekendheid geniet via de beroemde tekening van Leonardo Da Vinci, en symbool staat voor de mens als verbinding tussen aarde en kosmos. In deze ‘ideale’ positie kan de bezoeker de tentoonstelling al rollend en vanuit steeds andere standpunten waarnemen.. De gigantische ‘vitruviaanse bal’ zal echter grotendeels de toegang versperren zodat de andere bezoekers maar een beperkte ruimte hebben om zich een weg te banen naar de rest van de galerieruimte. Musicus Michel Verkempinck schreef de originele muziek bij dit werk en inspireerde zich daarvoor op de ‘negen poorten’ die Dante in zijn Goddelijke Komedie beschrijft. Verder in de ruimte staan naar analogie daarmee enkele deuren opgesteld, waaronder een die beschilderd werd met het opschrift Il Bosco dei violenti.

De nieuwe video Tunnel suggereert een virtuele tunnel die vanop het Antwerpse Zuid naar de ingang van de ondergrondse parkeerplaats van het St. Jansplein in Antwerpen Noord loopt. Daar wordt dezelfde film geprojecteerd op een kiosk voor restaurant-galerie De Rode 7 waar de tentoonstelling haar tweede luik heeft (en waar je een door de kunstenaar ontworpen inferno-gerecht kan bestellen, terwijl je in afwachting een door haar ontworpen tarotspel kan spelen). De film bestaat uit een montage van uiteenlopende ‘tunnelvideo’s’ die Clinckx op het internet vond en opnieuw filmde. In de montage zitten beelden van onschuldige tunnels waar jongeren bommetjes tot ontploffing brengen , maar ook smokkeltunnels, ontsnappings- en ontduikingstnnels, catacomben, tunnels die gebruikt worden door terroristen, tunnels die dienen als woonplaats, maar ook een tunnel om de avondklok te omzeilen en de plaatselijke ijsbar te bezoeken. De film vormt een lange ‘aaneengebreëen’ tunnel die je als een treinreis meesleurt naar de andere kant van de stad. Voor Boerinnenkookboek vermengde Clinckx recepten voor explosieven uit The Anarchist Cookbook met die voor traditionele gerechten uit het bekende kookboek van de Boerinnenbond. Deze mix is in rode lippenstift op behangpapier genoteerd. Het gebruik van rode lipstick, een ambivalent materiaal dat Clinckx wel vaker hanteert, refereert aan bloedsporen, oorlogskleuren en erotiek. Ook de editie op een one-USdollar biljet is met dezelfde rode lipstick geschreven. Hierop vindt je dezelfde ingrediënten terug, maar nu geïsoleerd en uit hun context getrokken. Pas indien je de hele editie (20 exemplaren) samenvoegt, krijg je opnieuw de juiste combinatie.
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PRESS RELEASE

Work of a Sailor\", Jan De Pooter (Belgium)

Art comes in countless varieties. It can be quite a lot, like Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, or come across

as more or less nothing, such as a row of pavement stones by Carl Andre.

An artwork can be the result of years of labor, but can just as well derive from a sudden inspiration where

the realization hardly took any time at all. The investment of time, energy and cost of materials tells us nothing

about the quality of the work, and the discovery of minimal art shook the art world as profoundly as the biblical

story on that famous ceiling.



But usually art falls somewhere between these extremes, created on a human scale, making no great demands

for art philosophical insights.

The observer can, without much effort and uncertainty, basically grasp what it’s all about.

Such is the case with the work of Jan De Pooter. His most recent work is a big boat, made from salvaged planks

which he has treated with a delicate layer mixed with sand, giving it a rather weather-beaten effect.

The vessel stands supported, as if in a dry dock. Gallery Dagmar De Pooter is thus filled up and appears as some

kind of transported wharf. The boat stands pointed in the direction of the street, with the Schelde near by.



Can this boat sail? No, although it would remain afloat much longer than the “Scotch Gambit” by Panamarenko.

But it doesn’t actually need to be

sea worthy, because it’s not a boat but a work of art. As such, it’s an idea, a concept, an expression.

It represents something which cannot be put into words. L\'invitation au voyage , perhaps, as in the famous poem

by Baudelaire.



In order to better understand what this is all about, it’s advisable to go over some other works by this same artist.

In the 1990s, Jan De Pooter principally exhibited bird houses and suitcases. These, too, are connected with travel.

The fanciful bird houses often had rather bizarre proportions.

When placed in his garden, the occasional bird might pass by, but wouldn’t linger. This was never their intended

purpose.

One of the bird houses was made from a suitcase. I believe they were intended for migratory birds, large migratory

birds.



As for the suitcases: at all times and in all places, people are en route somewhere, either voluntarily or under duress,

towards a safe or uncertain destination. They all have their baggage in tow, practical suitcases from Samsonite,

Delsey and Laurent David, chic suitcases from Pierre Cardin, YSL or Vuitton, improvised third-world suitcases, or

simple cardboard boxes and plastic bags bound with string. Tanned and self-satisfied,

or battered and in despair, they pile into airports and bus terminals hoping to reach their destination unscathed,

to experience kindness and generosity, open doors awaiting them. The search for good fortune and security is

the mark of both the tourist and the refugee.



The suitcase represent a desire to be elsewhere. But Jan De Pooter also makes suitcases out of concrete, which

are unmovable. These suitcases are like a ball and chain, you’re held down, you can’t make a move with them.

The seduction of adventure becomes an obstruction and frustration.

Or he attaches a suitcase handle to a wall, a beautiful metaphor for the feeling of being locked up, the impossibility

of departure, the illusion of mobility. But at the same time, the profound idea that you always bring yourself with

you, wherever you go. With that handle you transport yourself as if it were your own room.

With dozens of suitcases he built a meters-high gate, which by itself already seemed to be some kind of touristic

monument, a postcard image.

And just as you had grotesque birdcages, you also have grotesque suitcases. In one of them was squeezed a

blow-up toy shark. Attached to another were musical horns (those annoying old-fashioned car horns, fortunately

banned long ago). With these suitcases you can place yourself on display.

Far more impressive than a suitcase covered with colorful souvenir travel stickers.

In this manner, Jan De Pooter appears to relativise his own work.

He begins with an idea with a particular set of possibilities, carries them out in a

series of variations which enrich and clarify the idea, then wraps them up with cartoonish touch.

The work takes on a Tex Avery-esque quality, as he himself puts it.



Additionally, there’s his curious penchant for public water closets, particularly urinals. In 1995 he began to take

photos of them, which lead to a touristic map of the city upon which, instead of the locations of museums and

other culturally edifying sites, only the public toilets were indicated. The work of a man of the street, a repudiator,

an exile.

This concept, too, was brought to a farcical conclusion, in the form of a portable and folding urinal, which one can be

hung around the neck in order to, in all discretion and surrounded by bewildered bystanders, allow the call of

nature to take its course.



Jan De Pooter appears to be drawn towards desires and illusions, but the dominant theme in his work is in a sense

quite realistic and down to earth.

All of these illusions are not his own. His work does not come across as exceptionally laconic.

He says himself that the only “fresh” work he’s ever made is a bathtub, filled with blue water, in which, under

the water line, a copper boat portal is mounted. It is indeed a truly artistic idea. Imagine you’re in the bath and

stick your head under water: you suddenly have the feeling of being in an underwater yacht, or some kind of home

submarine. Everything seems to go well, as long as you don’t believe too strongly in this illusion and

attempt to open the portal. The result would be that the bath water would immediately drain and you’d have to go

mop it up.

Which brings us to the imposing black boat, that nomadic dream project he has challenged himself with.

You don’t load this leviathan casually on a ‘remorque’, as you would a sailboat from a boat shop.

This is the project of a great tinkerer, who knows how to take on a hundred and one technical problems.

Mounting, dismounting, transporting, remounting, storage. The spectator takes it all in.



His ship has something somber about it, something inaccessible. The Ship of Doom! Le Bateau Lavoir!

La Lugubre Gondola! You can make it as romantic or dramatic as you like, but in no respect is this a vessel for

a summer pleasure cruise along the Galgenweel. Whoever wishes to travel with this will have to be satisfied with

the most rudimentary of comforts and place his fate in the hands of its

builder-captain.

But that trust is generated by the boat itself, for at the same time it has something solid and life asserting, as

well as a certain sensitivity, and it is the combination of these qualities in which all of its emotional meaning is

suggested. But at the same time, in all seriousness : Back to Basics.



A child with a balloon (we assume this child has already seen a balloon burst) is careful with his balloon, and

expertly maneuvers between sharp projectiles and glowing cigarette tips. He knows that the balloon is but a frail

illusion, but wants nevertheless to enjoy it for as long as possible.

The child discovers that his cautious protection of the balloon doesn’t detract from the pleasure it provides

him with. So too with the boat: it floats on the waves, so long as you don’t put it in the water.



Paul Ilegems, March 2007. (translation Dutch to English: Michael Laird)










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