Koenraad Dedobbeleer: Kunststoff - Gallery of Material Culture

Koenraad Dedobbeleer: Kunststoff - Gallery of Material Culture

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels

View of Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Kunststoff - Gallery of Material Culture, WIELS, 2018. Photo: Tobias Hübel.

October 5, 2018
Koenraad Dedobbeleer
Kunststoff - Gallery of Material Culture
September 21, 2018–January 6, 2019
WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354
1190 Brussels
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm

T +32 2 340 00 53

WIELS present a major exhibition of the Belgian artist Koenraad Dedobbeleer titled Kunststoff - Gallery of Material Culture. “Kunststoff” translates as “plastic” and is composed of the words “art” (kunst) and “material” (stoff). Dedobbeleer explores the fundamentals of art and material throughout his expanded sculptural practice.

His open and generous work connects art historical and architectural references to elements drawn from popular culture, from shapes seen in the street, to surfaces stolen from high-end design. Like the titles he applies at random to his works—lyrics, snippets overhead in conversation or read in books and newspapers—the forms and materials he employs seem familiar. However, Dedobbeleer renders them ambiguous in the way that he combines, installs and titles them.

The question of display is central to Dedobbeleer’s work. Many of his pieces are themselves presentation devices, but the display mechanism that particularly intrigues Dedobbeleer is the museum itself and the way that it confirms the value of the objects on display. He is fascinated by museological paraphernalia (stands, plinths, vitrines) and printed matter (particularly books and museum postcards) both of which recur throughout his work. Drawing upon the museological convention of labelling as “material culture” anything that cannot be otherwise classified, the exhibition’s subtitle Gallery of Material Culture hints at Dedobbeleer’s ambivalence about contributing further to the mass of objects produced since the dawn of mankind.

The exhibition is structured in three parts: it opens with a dense installation of works that date back to 2003. Loosely grouped by theme, they offer multiple entrances into Dedobbeleer’s way of thinking. This space is installed as an indoor sculpture park or architectural promenade. In the second space, Dedobbeleer presents new works that evoke elements of a classical museum display and furniture. A series of “vitrines” evoke the Gallery of Material Culture, presenting a vast array of objects that defy specific categorisation.

For WIELS, Dedobbeleer has produced a magnificent sculpture in the form of a functioning radiator. Its spiral shape echoes that of an energy-saving light-bulb, as a comment upon energy consumption and “greenwashing.” In the tradition of institutional critique—as a homage to Michael Asher’s 1992 work at Kunsthalle Bern—the piece renders tangible the flows of energy and money through the art institution.

Finally, at the top of the WIELS building, Dedobbeleer has installed a functioning stove, whose flickering flames transform the work into a kinetic sculpture.

Curated by Zoë Gray

Related program

Guided tour by Koenraad Dedobbeleer
Tour in Dutch 

Guided tour by Sophie Dars & Carlo Menon
Tour in French 

Guided tour by Zoë Gray, senior curator
Tour in English

The exhibition is accompanied by Dedobbeleer’s first monograph, which traces the development of his practice since 2006. The book features an introduction by WIELS senior curator Zoë Gray, an essay by art historian Patricia Falguières and personal recollections of selected exhibitions of Dedobbeleer’s work by 16 artists and curators who experienced them first hand.

Contributors: Harold Ancart (artist), Lauren Barnes (curator, The Hepworth Wakefield), Susanne Bieri (Swiss National Library, Bern), Konrad Bitterli (director, Kunst Museum Winterthur), Phillip Van den Bossche (director, Mu.ZEE, Ostend), Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy (director, Witte de With, Rotterdam), Kris Kimpe (architect), Janneke de Vries (director, GAK, Bremen), Pierre Leguillon (artist), Rita McBride (artist), Asier Mendizabal (artist), François Piron (curator, Paris), Claire Le Restif (director, Le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine), Dieter Roelstraete (curator, Neubauer Collegium, Chicago), Dirk Snauwaert (director, WIELS), Susanne Titz (director, Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach).

Co-publishers: WIELS, Koenig Books, Kunst Museum Winterthur and Kunstverein Hannover.

Language: English (with translation inserts in German, French, Dutch)

ISBN: 978-3-96098-465-8

Exhibition supported by
Henry Moore Foundation
CLEARING, Brussels / New York
Mai 36, Zürich
ProjecteSD, Barcelona
Wilgelover, Waregem
Raymond, Brussels

Exhibition in collaboration with
Kunst Museum Winterthur
Kunstverein Hannover

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WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
October 5, 2018

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