Lehmann Maupin will feature a solo presentation of work by Belgian artist Patrick Van Caeckenbergh for its first-ever participation in the Independent Art Fair. A voracious reader and collector of knowledge, Van Caeckenbergh coalesces bits of information—from scientific diagrams to fairytales—into unified ideas that are brought to life in his work. He is continually updating, organizing, and classifying his research to make sense of it, and often mixing this information with his personal ideas and imagination to create an entirely new narrative. Van Caeckenbergh’s oeuvre represents the visual articulation of the way he collects and interprets complex webs of information and knowledge.
THE PICTURESQUE HISTORY OF EMPTINESS, Les Oubliettes – The Oblivions – De Vergeetputten, gives form to the vast emptiness of the world—that which we cannot see. Hand-blown glass bell jars of various shapes and sizes will be placed on an industrial shelving unit, with the top and bottom shelves mirrored, giving the illusion of infinite vertical space. Drawing parallels to the emptiness of the atom as the basis of all matter, Van Caeckenbergh wants us to consider the invisible matter that surrounds us. The jars were originally used as a conservation method to protect religious saints from dust and debris. However as Flanders, where Van Caeckenbergh lives, transitioned from a predominantly Catholic region to a more secular one, the saints were discarded and the jars lost their function. Van Caeckenbergh purchased the jars from an elderly Flanders man, and has continued to display them as he found them in the man’s home—nestled inside one another and covered with dust, fingerprints, and the residue of labels naming the saints that were once inside.
Drawings of Old Trees during the wintry days 2007-2014 are not renderings of actual trees, but are inspired by the trees in Belgium, particularly those in the artist’s own garden. The drawings evolved organically from Van Caeckenbergh's memory. He observed the trees for so long that he had, in a way, absorbed the residue of their form and essence. Van Caeckenbergh often revisited and reworked the drawings over a number of years, laying new pieces of paper over some sections so he could expand on them, never erasing his marks. The drawings incorporate many playful references—where elements of the tree appear anthropomorphic or small windows and doors are worked into roots, creating a tree house of sorts. Van Caeckenbergh views these tree drawings as a metaphor for his overall practice and the way his work is developed—the branching off of ideas and concepts from one central source.
Together, THE PICTURESQUE HISTORY OF EMPTINESS, Les Oubliettes – The Oblivions – De Vergeetputten and Drawings of Old Trees during the wintry days 2007-2014, serve as foils for one another. The trees are rooted in the idea that everything in the world is connected, while conversely, the bell jar installation represents the vast emptiness of the world, giving form and shape to something that is difficult to grasp.
Lehmann Maupin will also have a solo presentation of works by Billy Childish at its booth (D26) at ADAA: The Art Show, running concurrently from March 1-5, 2017 at the Park Avenue Armory, New York.
Van Caeckenbergh will have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Ghent, Belgium in fall 2017. Spanning a period of five years, the exhibition will feature Van Caeckenbergh’s works interspersed with artworks from the museum’s permanent collection, primarily Dutch vanitas paintings.
About the Artist
Patrick Van Caeckenbergh (b. 1960, Aalst, Belgium; lives and works in Sint-Kornelis-Horebeke, Belgium) has had solo exhibitions including a retrospective at the Musée Gassendi, Digne-les-Bains, France (2016); M Museum, Leuven (2012); as well as La Maison Rouge, Paris (2007); Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nîmes (2005); and Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht (2002), among other prominent institutions. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including the Venice Biennale in 1993 and 2013; The blind man… which traveled to ICA London, MCA Detroit, De Appel, Amsterdam, and Culturgest, Lisbon (2009-2010); the 5th Biennale of Lyon (2000); Acracadabra at Tate Gallery, London (1999); Manifesta 1 in Rotterdam (1996); and Hors - Limites. L'art et la vie 1952-1994 at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1994).