“Like the arsonist who watches his work smoulder, we humans are often compelled to keep our darkest, wildest instincts just within view. As if to see malefic energies beside us is to keep ourselves from assuming their form.

Gert & Uwe Tobias are masters of conjuring faintly perceptible desires as they ooze from cracks in our psyches. For their sixth solo exhibition at rodolphe janssen, mythological creatures make barely contained pets in portraiture. At times they appear to pose amenably, at others they wriggle free from their human counterparts, who counter candidness and mayhem with solemnity and seductively piercing side glances. These are portraits of the human infatuation with monstrosity, of chaotic symbiosis: a bearing of mythological alter-egos.

Influences of Symbolism are at play in the Tobias Brothers’ paintings, what Huysmans, in his analysis of Odilon Redon’s paintings, called “undreamed-of images”. And yet, we rarely encounter the all-encompassing darkness of Gustave Moreau. Subject and object, fore- and background merge playfully in sepia and quinacridone washes. Figures are delineated as they emerge from murky spaces, the whiteness of their eyes and hands the focal point around which atmospheric gestures recall hair, ectoplasm, and mist.

In the 12th century zoological survey Bestiary, the characteristics of animals both real and supernatural are described in equal detail; Unicorns and griffins are provided the same ontological seriousness as horses and peacocks. Mythological creatures, in other words, have long occupied psychic space with the same fear and excitement as wild animals kept as pets, physical manifestations of what lies beyond the human. They sit tenderly close to our longing.”

– for more information on additional images from this event please contact EMS at [email protected] or Instagram at @ericminhswenson

Almine Rech Brussels is pleased to present the third exhibition of Brent Wadden with the gallery.

“Brent Wadden has always been slightly outside the mainstream. After studying painting and drawing at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, he took an interest in weaving. The interest of his work lies essentially in the sectorisation of different media, as he says himself: “to me, the Bauhaus movement seemed more based on notions of industrial design, while I was more focused on what it meant to weave. I actually started to think about transforming weaving into what could be considered a painting.”

In these large-scale pieces, Brent Wadden expands the relative flatness with dynamic geometric shapes, sometimes spreading beyond the frame. Every point in the weave seems to stop time, but Wadden’s work is still infused with rhythm, musicality almost. “Even though painting allows for more freedom and spontaneity than weaving, which by nature takes longer and is more tedious. I can produce sketches or preparatory drawings quickly, but creating the work itself is a regular and assiduous task in response to a composition elaborated beforehand”. He is totally focused on the transition from one colour to the next, on observing progression in the interplay of shades.

“My true subject”, Wadden concludes, “is work itself. It boils down to the organization of my tools and evolution of my compositions, the pace of which is dictated by the action underway. I am exclusively absorbed in the process: at the end of the day, I experience the satisfaction of work accomplished”. Every morning, he revives an almost ancestral process, and leaves interpretation to others.”

– Marie Maertens

– for more information on additional images from this event please contact EMS at [email protected] or Instagram at @ericminhswenson

“Xavier Hufkens presents an ensemble of sculptures, paintings and video work by the American artist Paul McCarthy, which will be displayed across both gallery spaces. The exhibition comprises works from three of McCarthy’s most important video performance installations of the last two decades: CP (Caribbean Pirates), WS (White Snow) and CSSC (Coach Stage Stage Coach) / DADDA (Donald And Daisy Duck Adventure).

From Caribbean Pirates, McCarthy presents new iterations of three seminal works: Captain Ballsack (2001–2018), Piggies (2006–2018) and Paula Jones(2007–2018). This sprawling opus, which was inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean amusement park ride at Disneyland, ultimately led to a spin-off project entitled Pig Island. The latter is the fictitious name given to a large object strewn stage in the middle of McCarthy’s studio, upon which the artist would assemble sculptures on the themes of pirates and pigs (or mutations thereof). Conceived as an artwork from the outset, it functioned as the wellspring for a series of works in which political figures, such as George W. Bush, engage in perverse sexual practices. Both Paula Jones and Piggies are products of this island, so to speak, whereas Captain Ballsack is an iconic figure from the overarching CP narrative, and whose origins can be traced back to the drawing Poop Deck (2001). Previously seen in their raw original states or cast into materials such as fibreglass and stainless steel, McCarthy reinvigorates these pivotal works in a blast of lurid technicolour. The smooth and diffuse painted finishes are unique: sprayed by the artist himself and manipulated by hand.”

– for more information on additional images from this event please contact EMS at [email protected] or Instagram at @ericminhswenson

“With her very first exhibition in Brussels (and incidentally in Europe) which is hosted at la Patinoire Royale — Galerie Valérie Bach, Gisela COLON rips apart the great white veil of our contemporary art world with her, let’s face it, truly groundbreaking works. These extraordinary iridescent curved shapes, made of her own take on blow-molded acrylic techniques, reveal tangible futuristic anticipation, toying with our visual perception using the very properties of light. Here the infinite variations of light and color show themselves as one moves around, depending on the angle from which it is viewed. The eye is delighted while all our certitudes come crumbling down.
Gisela’s brilliant production has grown from the crossover between Californian minimalism and the kinetic art of the 60’s, taking shape in Los Angeles where she lives and works.Her work resides precisely within this research of pure shape and color, perfectly aligned with the «iLight and Space Movement » started in the early sixties by West Coast artists such as James Turell, Bruce Nauman, Craig Kauffman, Robert Irwin, etc. Their artworks were then (and continue to be) true to their own nature, perfectly autonomous objects, inspired by the light and colors unique to Southern California: these shapes appear in all their glory, in their absolute purest form, without engaging the viewer’s own subjectivity.
Gisela’s works, on the other hand, call upon the involvement of the viewer. Through this shift she engages the optical kinetic art of the sixties, directly inspired by Carlos Cruz Diez (to whom the Galerie Valérie Bach concomitantly devotes a significant retrospective, precisely due to his proximity with Gisela’s work which she acknowledges and claims as her own heritage), Horacio Garcia Rossi, Gregorio Vardanega, Karl Gerstner, Antonio Asis, Rafael Soto or Julio Le Parc.”

– for more information on additional images from this event please contact EMS at [email protected] or Instagram at @ericminhswenson