White Cube is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings and films by Leo Gabin, as part of the
Inside the White Cube programme. The Belgian trio, made up of Lieven Deconinck,
Gaetan Begerem and Robin De Vooght, investigate the materials and rituals of contemporary culture by
pulling together endless amounts of online amateur video footage to create a new kind of narrative.
Leo Gabin are interested in how American pop culture is filtered and interpreted through online viewing;
how young people use the media to capture their surroundings and express themselves. Using imagery
and videos from both public and private spheres (social networking sites), the resulting works evoke
feelings not only of despair and sadness, but also hope and joy.
The ground floor gallery will feature a new two-part film, A Crackup at the Race Riots (2013-14), based
on the 1998 novel by Harmony Korine. Set in Florida, the film brings together conflicting online footage
of desolation and decay in the ‘sunshine state’. Images of abandoned houses and empty malls are
contrasted with ones of glorious weather and ‘happy’ places, such as Disneyland. Korine’s funny,
absurd, sad and poetic texts are converted to audio using text-to-speech software and provide the
narration for the film. Set to a soundtrack of adapted/remixed pop music and other composed sounds
by the artists, the film highlights both the realities and hardships of the ‘American Dream’.
Leo Gabin have created a viewing room for the screenings, choosing furnishings that reference
elements taken from amateur films posted on video-sharing sites such as a rear projection TV, an early
2000s ‘must-have technology’ and often used as a backdrop for self-shot dance routines. With the
gallery floor covered in cheap carpet and cluttered with the requisite white resin patio chairs, the
installation questions notions of truth – both that of internet realities and of this foreign interpretation
of ‘American life’.
In the lower ground floor gallery, a series of silk-screened, acrylic and spray painted canvases depict
images gathered from online footage. The paintings’ highly expressive style and pixelated imagery
serves to disrupt any sense of a clear narrative, creating parallels between the activities of making art
and surfing the internet. Images of the Miami Dolphins NFL cap, the Ford sedan and McMansions are
repeated throughout the paintings, as the artists look to demonstrate the power of iconic imagery, so
widely shared across the internet. While these works, with their different abstract styles, remind us of
Rauschenberg’s 1960s collaged paintings, they also look to the future, and to the internet’s influence on
culture and vice versa.
Leo Gabin is a trio of artists consisting of Lieven Deconinck, Gaëtan Begerem and Robin De Vooght, who
have worked together since 2000. All three were born in Ghent, Belgium, where they continue to live
and work. They received their BFA’s at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Ghent. Recent group exhibition
include ‘PRIVAT’, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, curated by Dr. Martina Weinhaert, and solo shows
include ‘New Holland’, St. Petersburg, Russia; The Cultural Centre Bruges, Belgium; Peres Projects,
Berlin; Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York City and the Kunstraum Muenchen, Munich.