Opening: Saturday, 5 June, 2 to 8 pm
In 2005 Jan Vercruysse initiated a new group of works, named Places. The artist situated the Places works
vis-à-vis the previous Tombeaux works, based on the idea and practice of memory. Where the Tombeaux are
places for memory—empty, by definition full of the faculty of memory—, the Places are places of memory—more
conclusive, concentrating “meanings”, things that happened, parts of lives. They allow and support a “fulness”.
A first group of works, Places (I)—the image of which refers to ex votos—is composed of the hands of the five
cards of the poker card game. Configurations are installed using the four suits—spades, hearts, diamonds and
clubs—, made of rusted or coloured thin steel sheets.
A second group, Places (II), is based on the image of commemorative plaques, often embedded in the floor of
churches or found in archeological sites and where the traditional inscriptions are replaced with the shapes of
the four suits of the playing cards, cut out in heavy rusted corten steel sheets. These works focuse on how to
define a space / a place through purely visual elements and (rhetorical) strategies.
The works from Places (III) have text. The characters of the Roman alphabet are transcribed into a new
alphabet, based on a permutation system using the four shapes (suits) of the playing cards. In a first series
of these works, the texts have a rather poetic or philosophic content (the way an artist would formulate
it)—without any reference to an existing “place”. In a second series, Places (III.8)—in which the shapes which
form the text, are cut out in marble slabs—the names of “real” places appear, each of them preceded by the
sentence “mist obscured …” (e.g. “mist obscured … Palermo”). Through this reflective manoeuvre, the initial
attention to the memory of a real, existing place, can be guided towards an understanding of the “existence”
of the Places works: they are their own place.
The works which Jan Vercruysse now exhibits, are part of a new series: Places [Lost].
How to initiate a first introduction, a narrative on these new works?
A limited set of selected objects constitutes the base for the compositions of these works: a few wooden wine
crates—of different shapes and dimensions, two wooden pallets and a pair of billiard cues. These objects are
artefacts and they served a specific purpose; they have a “human” history. While a single wine crate, a single
pallet or a single pair of billiard cues would be just that, it is in their combination—their compositions—that
these objects transcend their primary physical characteristics: they become the remains of a journey, the silent
keepers of “parts of lives”. In order to enhance the distance with these primary characteristics, the original
artefacts are cast in bronze; these bronzes are thereafter painted with a chalklike white colour or sometimes
patinated in the classic way. While the Places [Lost] acquire a sculptural quality—in fact, they even are
sculptures—they are their own place.