Philippe Van Wolputte
– Tactical Transparency
Opening: Thursday 26 April, 2018. 6 – 9 pm
Exhibition: 26.04 – 27.05.2018
From April 26th until May 27th, 2018, KETELEER Gallery will present Philippe Van Wolputte’s first solo exhibition since joining the gallery.
Since 2003 Van Wolputte (1982, Antwerp) has been exploring urban landscapes, making site specific interventions and building installations in various galleries and museums. Prior to his formal education, his focus was already set on what is still the main topic of his artistic explorations: the possible function of abandoned, forgotten, but most of all devalued urban locations awaiting demolition as they no longer serve a purpose in the current economical/utilitarian hierarchy. Sometimes he reclaims these sites by repurposing them as ‘Temporary Penetrable Exhibition Spaces’ (TPES), or by marking them with a distinct grid. Other times he re-uses and re-activates these sites by creating his own pathways through what appeared to be almost fossilized, inert spaces.
By documenting his actions via photography and video recordings Van Wolputte takes us on a journey where it is unclear where we are going and what we are fighting against but reminds us of the strong effect architecture has on us. Crawling through dark corridors, breaking through walls, inhaling the dust of the past, … makes it clear, these places have not completely died yet. On the contrary, their silence carries the innumerable voices of lives and realities passed.
In all his works Van Wolputte uses a distinct aesthetic, reminiscent of ‘60s and ‘70s performance pieces, purposely and ironically romanticizing his artistic practices and lending them a, be it constructed, urban melancholia.
For this exhibition Van Wolputte is showing what appear to be found constructions but are actually newly made ‘decors’. He white-washes the windows of greenhouses as has been done for decades to the windows of empty stores to keep out the gaze of passers-by. It’s almost as if there’s a great shame to the inactive building, not unlike the shame of the unemployed citizen. Inside the greenhouses we find examples of what could be the artist’s workplace, the traces of his process. But they aren’t, they’re staged. And we are left wondering how much is a story and how much this matters.
Van Wolputte too, doesn’t tell the whole story. He won’t give us a clear view of what lies behind his practice and plays a dubious game of uncovering and hiding, colliding the past with the present, claiming no new truths but turning old ones inside out.
Lauren Wiggers, 2018.