January 4, 2017 - WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels - Sven 't Jolle: The Age of Entitlement, or Affordable Tooth Extraction
January 4, 2017

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels

Sven ’t Jolle, Pauvre Sapin, 2009. Collection Emmanuel Hervé, Paris.

Sven 't Jolle
The Age of Entitlement, or Affordable Tooth Extraction
January 13–March 19, 2017

Opening & conversation: January 12, 7pm, Sven ’t Jolle & Zoë Gray, curator (English)

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354
1190 Brussels
Belgium

T +32 2 340 00 53

www.wiels.org
Facebook / Instagram

Sven 't Jolle
The Age of Entitlement, or Affordable Tooth Extraction
January 13–March 19, 2017

Opening & conversation: January 12, 7pm, Sven ’t Jolle & Zoë Gray, curator (English)

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354
1190 Brussels
Belgium

T +32 2 340 00 53

www.wiels.org
Facebook / Instagram

Sven ’t Jolle’s work can be read as an impassioned critique of capitalism. His exhibition at WIELS—his largest solo presentation to date—features new productions and existing works, including sculptures, installations and works on paper. They reveal how he fuses historical references with citations from everyday life to create eloquent constellations of images and ideas.

His studio-based practice ranges from drawing in his sketchbook to modeling sculptures in clay and casting them in plaster or fiberglass. Often an idea will recur in different guises across these media, as the artist explores different ways to give an idea form. His visual idiom is informed by both art history and popular culture, for example by the Belgian cartoons of his youth, the massive roadside advertisements-cum-sculptures of his adopted home, Australia, or by masterpieces of 20th century painting. He plays with language, mixing catchphrases and proverbs in English, French and Dutch. With a keen eye and a sharp ear, ’t Jolle is equally likely to gather his ideas from art historical precedents as from newspaper articles or the rhetoric of politicians.

The title for this exhibition is taken from a 2014 speech by the former Australian treasurer Joe Hockey. Decrying the welfare state as unsustainable, Hockey proclaimed: “The Age of Entitlement is over.” ’t Jolle uses the phrase to explore the question of entitlement more broadly. Who is entitled to what? Who decides upon this entitlement? The pun upon the Age of Enlightenment is far from accidental. The Enlightenment was the dominant philosophical movement of the 18th century in Europe, founded on ideals of reason, tolerance and liberty. Today, while the same words are often applied to our neo-liberal society, their meaning has changed dramatically, as ’t Jolle underscores in his work.

The exhibition’s bathetic subtitle—Affordable Tooth Extraction—evokes the growth of DIY dentistry as public healthcare is dismantled. With works referencing current immigration policies, the fall-out of the banking crisis and the politics of austerity, ’t Jolle’s exhibition explores the values 
of contemporary society, addressing its inequalities with understated humor. 


Program

Look Who’s Talking:
 Stella Lohaus, independent curator (Dutch)
January 29, 4pm 

Look Who’s Talking:
 Anne Morelli, historian (French)
February 15, 7pm 

Look Who’s Talking: 
Zoë Gray, curator (English)
March 1, 7pm 


Publication
Sven ’t Jolle: The Age of Entitlement, or Affordable Tooth Extraction

This publication functions as a pocket guide to Sven ’t Jolle’s engaging, protean practice. Inspired by the form of an illustrated encyclopedia, the book adopts an unusual approach to combining image and text. Grouping the artist’s work under his poetic entry headings, it reveals how he returns to themes of migration, labor and capital under various guises.

In addition to photographs from ’t Jolle’s WIELS exhibition and illustrations of earlier works, the book features three new texts: an exploration of the exhibition’s themes by its curator, Zoë Gray; an interview with the artist by art critic Koen Kleijn; and an analysis of his sketchbook practice and his decisions to make all his sketchbooks available online, by curator Blair French.

Design: Luc Derycke

Publishers: WIELS (Brussels) & MER Paper Kunsthalle (Ghent)
ISBN: 978 94 9232 149 7

Language: English (Netherlands & France)

 

Exhibition supported by
Galerie Laurent Godin, Paris

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The Age of Entitlement, or Affordable Tooth Extraction
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