December 13, 2006 - S.M.A.K. - Ricardo Brey ‘Universe’
December 13, 2006

Ricardo Brey ‘Universe’

Ricardo Brey

October 7th 2006-January 1st 2007

Museum for Contemporary Art Ghent, Belgium
9000 Ghent

S.M.A.K. is for the first time showing Universe. This work by the Cuban artist Ricardo Brey consists of 1004 drawings, ranging from water colour and assemblage to photograph based images. In Universe, Brey has created his own mythological universe. In 99 showcases he unfolds a realm of evolutions and theories, animals and plants, natural elements and their symbolism.

This series is accompanied by a number of works that underpin his reflections on society, cultural diversity and the genesis of the world.

In parallel with the exhibition, this Universe has also published in a 500-page book.

Ricardo Brey (born 1955, Havana) explores how humans relate to nature, how cultures, religions and cultural identity interact and how his own Afro-Cuban origin comes in. Brey grew up in Havana, but moved to Ghent in 1991. He participated in international events such as Documenta in Kassel and Biennales of Sao Paulo, La Habana and Venice. His contribution to the Documenta IX in Kassel (1992) won him international renown.

Brey approaches spaces with total freedom and creates in them places of interaction that are just in the point of construction and destruction. At the moment, together with the Universe, S.M.A.K is presenting the installation that Brey has made for Documenta IX (1992). In this way the public begins its visit to the exhibition departing from an historical reference to the work of the artist.

Universe links heterogeneous subjects: evolution, various animal and plant species, religion, etc. As a whole, the work is a sort of encyclopaedia about fauna and flora, birds, fish, plants, etc., from the combined perspectives of aesthetics, ethics, religion… In Universe Brey juxtaposes his individual (mystical) experience of time and images with the great mythological time. This allows him to reflect upon the confrontation of different worlds and traditions. His work bears witness to a great sense of empathy in the poetic faculties of images and objects. Throughout his realisation of Universe, various aspects that were already present in his work, (shapes, media, etc.) are combined with new ideas and recently developed approaches. This creates a resonance in which all the individual works are linked and contain within themselves the memory of other shapes, like an interminable giving and taking.

Together with the exhibition the book of the Universe has been published. The hard cover volume contends the 1004 drawings which are reproduced at the scale of 90%. In this way, the reproductions slightly differ from the real drawingsthey are not real reproductions. Special attention is given to the choice of paper, the colour and the arrangement of the images.
This publication is issued by S.M.A.K. and MER. PaperKunsthalle and has been made possible with the support of the Flemish Community and the Cera-foundation.

Parallel to this presentation, S.M.A.K. also presents exhibitions by Peter Downsbrough, Agnes Varda, Philip Metten, Carlos Navarrete and Jan Christensen. We are also showing the exhibition Lost & Found with work by Finish artists Tellervo Kalleinen, Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen and Mika Taanila.

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