on view until 22 February 2013
Pieterjan Ginckels, Into the Wild iPod, 2012
MickeyMinniePlutoHueyLouieDeweyDonaldGoofySacramento; a title derived from the literal translation of the requirement for creating a password “8 characters and at least one capital”. An anecdote that reached Pieterjan Ginckels through Facebook. With a sense of humour tinged with gravity, Ginckels (1982, lives and works in Brussels) works on an intelligent oeuvre that toys with elements that typify his era: internet, spam, electronic music, fixed gear bikes, slow coffee. He refers to his work as ‘families’ of artwork: installations with pronounced circular, multi-layered and cooperative aspects that function as generator of metaphors in sound and image.
The family of new works in this exhibition has its roots in digital media, internet, spam, and Facebook and is fed by popular visual culture. The works engage with a means of appropriating meanings, constructions and objects by investing them with an autonomous, new life. Take, for instance, the iPad Cowboy series. Using an iPad, Ginckels photographed a series of pre-existing images, ranging from landscape paintings he found on the wall, to visuals sourced from the internet which he photographed from the screen of his laptop. With a few simple finger swipes of the screen, Ginckels turns them into new images and sends them straight to the printer. These images, each offset-printed 300 times, are stacked and held together with zip ties to form a unique miniature. The artist blows up a tiny picture of Ed Ruscha’s famous piece A Blvd. Called Sunset into a coarsely pixelated image the size of the original, replacing ‘Sunset’ with ‘Anspach’ written in heavy black letters: Anspach is the name of the central avenue where Ginckels lives and works, the urban axis running north to south through Brussels.
In combination with these digital hand-made drawings, the exhibition also features a sequence of sculptures and photographs in which Ginckels exploits the first generation iPod, the model that pre-dates today’s touchscreen generation of mediaware; a distinct design notable for its rectangular screen and circular click-wheel. In Into the Wild iPod, for example (see picture), Ginckels alienates this contemporary consumer gadget by taking it just after the iPod had reached its commercial peak, and positioning it within a conceptual context. Ginckels literally enlarges the iPod, magnifying it into what he refers to as a wePod or, in other words, a simple composition he introduces into the landscape. The artist takes the idea of compositionally liberating a cultural object further in the series SKINS, which appears to be an attempt to re-invent the original composition.
Pieterjan Ginckels numbers among the latest generation of artists whose work is not tied to a specific medium. With a sense of the comedic, Ginckels reveals that his choice of medium is founded on subjective and banal choices in the piece Why I Don't Like To Paint (2005) in which, without further ado, he lists his reasons for not painting in writing, on a canvas. Ginckels first designed his characteristic ‘families’ of artworks in 1000 Beats (first built in 2008) and PISTE (2010). The artist eradicates boundaries between performance, installation and conceptual art completely and consistently communicates an artistic idea on a level that viewers can physically experience.
Ginckels received the BOZAR Center for Fine Arts Award part of the Young Belgian Painters Award in 2011.
September 4 through October 16
PISTE by Pieterjan Ginckels is a large scale project where sporting and artistic intentions converge and where physical verve becomes a vehicle for generating a myriad of images and metaphors. For the PISTE project in Netwerk Aalst, Pieterjan Ginckels is currently at work building a cycling track and training a team of cyclists who will animate the structure during a six-day event. The idea is that the piste, or track, will set the pace for an alternative exhibition model with other ‘bifurcations’ in Galerie de Expeditie (Amsterdam) and, later, in Design Vlaanderen (Brussels) and Mu.ZEE (Oostende).
In the gallery, the artist has built a number of works to be seen as (sports) training machines.
Ventoplex, for instance, is a sculpture that, with a construction bristling with fans and an improvised control panel, works as a kind of fake wind tunnel. On his bike – a modified track cycle-cum-autonomous sculpture – the test sprinter selects head wind, left or right wind using variable socket panels. Mounted on the gallery walls around the object are thermal blankets, emergency aids for injured athletes – the gold side cools the body while the silver side retains bodily warmth. Hanging with their gold sides facing into the space of the gallery, the blankets lend the pseudo-technical wind experiment an extra layer, setting the whole room in motion at the slightest draught. There is also a brightly lit space with four chairs set up opposite each other. The chairs are modified IKEA folding chairs, fitted with a beaker and drinks holder and emblazoned with the names of the four members of the PISTE team. Between the chairs is a wooden block with a built-in record player and monitor. One Beat, the vinyl record made for the 1000 Beats project plays unceasingly and, with its circular groove, is visually echoed by the cyclists orbiting the track. The monitor shows a new film, Strobo Mondial, showing the Olympic colours running in crescendo from slow to fast and back to slow. Film and music gradually intermingle as frequencies or multiples frequencies overlap and also interfere with the so-called Ventoplex and the illuminated Human Disco Ball: a bike helmet covered in fragments of mirror used by the PISTE team and produced as an edition for performances in the public space, among other things. Here, mounted onto a record player, the helmet spins round and round.
The PISTE project not only generates the images and installations but uses them in performances and film sets. And so, just before the construction and opening of the cycle track in Aalst, the gallery in Amsterdam is transformed into a training camp. For two days, the team will train on the Ventoplex and Strobo Mondial and activate the exhibition. This two-day event is being filmed and will resurface as the video Ventoplex Boys in the exhibition in Aalst.
Following 1000 Beats, PISTE is the second project with which Pieterjan Ginckels makes a bid to break free from a single, fixed, status. The audience, friends and partners are drawn together and become part of the work. And, in addition to their independent role, artworks play a (practical, visual) supporting role for another work; the exhibition site becomes a workplace, an abode, a storage area. Spaces and exhibition modalities are interwoven.
Space shuttle banana
May 24 until July 5, 2008
Gallery view, space shuttle banana, 2008
For the expo "Space shuttle banana", Pieterjan Ginckels created six new works, which all portrait aspects of our times in an intelligent and poetic manner. Allusions to the Internet and spam, electronic music, and graphic design, it all can be found in the installations, photographs, films, and objects that are clearly communicating with each other. Cross-overs between disciplines, in which Ginckels manifests himself as an autodidact.
"Lee vs. Sam" is a work, in seven parts, with spam-tittles that are put in opposition by means of a dialogue. In connection to this poem, Ginckels presents his first spam sculpture, titled "Space shuttle banana".
"Flash", a disco ball replacing a ceiling lamp, only shows its effect when taking a picture.
"Powerstation" consists of a cardboard box with a socket from which a spotlight receives its electricity. Thus the box enlightens itself.
When the visitor enters or exits the gallery, he or she is invited to join in "Stroboscopes talking".
Two screens, facing each other, communicate in black and white, each at their own speed.
The work of Pieterjan Ginckels definitely has a "tongue in cheek" connotation.
Previously on show in the gallery was the exhibition "The truth, part I". This show was in 2006 selected for 'Street: behind the cliché' at Witte de With museum, Rotterdam. Early in 2008,
Ginckels had a comprehensive solo exhibition in the Neuer Aachener Kunstverein. Here the project "1000 beats" saw its first performance. For this exhibition a catalogue was published, which can be purchased in the gallery. Pieterjan Ginckels is currently working on, among other things, an installation that will take part in Peter Gabriel's world-touring CD-performance. Also he is preparing for a residency in Beijing.
For further information or images, please contact the gallery.