Purple Art

[July 12 2016]

Maarten Vanden Eynde “Catastrophic Casualties & Casual Catastrophes” exhibition at Meessen De Clercq, Brussels

The title “War on Terror” brings a more tragic dimension to the interpretation of the work, and alludes to the policy of ‘turning a deaf ear’, which some nations apply to armed conflicts. Only showing one half of the pair of earplugs is also intended to denounce the fact that information supplied by the press is often incomplete (only one side of the story).
Resembling the shape of a missile, Silicon Age, the silicon carrot exhibited on a base is a way to open up the relationship between technology and culture that interests Vanden Eynde. The mining of raw materials (and particularly the one that lent its name to Silicon Valley) is touched on here, as is the human research on which the technology depends. At the base of this silicon column, Vanden Eynde has engraved a replica of the first integrated circuit, linking the provenance of an object to its purpose. Along the same lines, we see with “Cosmic Connection” in the left-hand room hundreds of circuits soldered into the shape of a satellite, highlighting the paramount role of communication in our era. Communication however also leads to material remnants, as is the case of several thousand of satellites that are in orbit around earth, but of which only a small fraction is still working. Malachite mobiles, the series of thirteen telephones sculpted in malachite, reinforces these ideas. The copper carbonate mines in Congo are numerous and productive. Copper is one of the major components of all mobile phones and Vanden Eynde had the idea of working with local craftsmen to reproduce the first iconic models of mobile phones (Nokia, iPhone, Samsung, …). By calling on local labour, the artist asks once again the colonial questions about the economic system of redistribution while questioning the Western technological revolution. Likewise when he presents the phones as archaeological finds or precious stones while recreating the commercial surroundings of an anonymous phone retailer.

On view until July 16th, 2016 at Meessen De Clercq, 2a Rue de l’Abbaye, Brussels.

Photo Guillaume Boutrolle

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