The first solo show in Italy by Belgian artist Peter Buggenhout (b. 1963, based in Ghent), one of the foremost European sculptors of his generation. Is made up of two pieces, both from the series The Blind Leading the Blind.
The first (The Blind Leading the Blind #65, 2014) is a spectacularly striking assemblage—some 10 meters long and 6 meters high—incorporating materials such as iron pipes, plywood panels, carpeting, industrial scraps, and bits of mortar: a piece of architecture ambiguously suspended between construction and destruction, growth and collapse. The second (The Blind Leading the Blind #25, 2007) is an enigmatic object with a craggy, irregular shape, presented in a showcase as if it were an archeological find. Both works are being shown for the first time in Italy.
For twenty years now, Peter Buggenhout has been presenting viewers with a challenging paradox: his pieces are elaborate artistic creations which at first glance seem like the product of chance and time. The sculptures from his series The Blind Leading the Blind look like wreckage, ruins, rubble: works springing from a rational design, but shattered and mutilated by some unknown event. In other cases, we feel like we are looking at organisms whose haphazard proliferation has been suddenly cut short. All the works in the series are partially or wholly covered in a layer of dust, as if they were happened upon after decades of abandonment: critics have called them “archeological finds of the future.”
This use of dust as a sculptural material is one of the most fascinating aspects of Buggenhout’s oeuvre. Associated with the passage of time, with decay and dissolution, it suggests that the Belgian artist’s works could be seen as melancholy vanitas, still lifes meant to remind the viewer that everything is transient. The sculptor warns us, however, against interpreting his work in a purely negative sense, as a sort of monument to entropy: “The opposite may be true. I let the viewer to decide. Destruction leads ultimately to reconstruction, in the same way that dead leaves nurture trees. We are confronted with a constant back and forth. The situation is in flux,” he says.
Peter Buggenhout was born in Dendermonde, Belgium in 1963. He lives and works in Ghent.
His recent solo exhibitions include: Museum Zu Allerheiligen, Schaffhausen (2016); Museum M, Leuven (2015); Centre Internationale d’Art et du Paysage de l’Île de Vassivière (2014); Caterpillar Logic II, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York (2014); The Blind Leading The Blind, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); Ni chair, ni poisson, Galerie Laurent Godin, Paris (2013); De-Titled, Galerie Konrad Fisher, Düsseldorf (2012); Ludwig Forum, Aachen (2012); Contes Invertébrés, Galerie Laurent Godin, Paris (2011); Ongewerveld, De Pont, Tilburg (2011); Caterpillar Logic, Kunstraum Dornbirn (2010); “It’s a strange, strange world, Sally”, La Maison Rouge, Paris (2010); The Broccoli Cycle 1, Konrad Fischer Galerie, Berlin (2010); Galerie Konrad Fischer, Düsseldorf (2009); Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle (2009); Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Jerusalem (2008); Gallery Maskara at Warehouse on 3rd Pasta, Mumbai (2008).
Simone Menegoi e Barbara Meneghel
29 gennaio – 24 febbraio 2019
Salone Banca di Bologna – Palazzo De’ Toschi
Coordinator: Katrien Driesen; Installation: Willem Boel, Jan Pauwels; Transport: a. hartrodt (Belgium), Airfreight n.v.; Translations: Johanna Bishop; Photographs: Dario Lasagni; Thanks to: Giulia Maria Baisi, Francesca Caselli, Luca Loreni, Mauro Loreti, Gianluca Mezzetti, Luigi Raffa. Special thanks to Alberto Ferrari. Thanks to Accademia di Bologna, and in particular to Professor Sergia Avveduti, for their help in organizing the docent team.