Purple Art

[February 2 2024]

“The Order of Things” by Wim Delvoye at Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva

Wim Delvoye is the fourth artist to be given a carte blanche at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva by the curator and director Marc-Olivier Wahler. The exhibition The Order Of Things by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye embraces post-industrial thought by manipulating the levels of culture in the museum space and introducing new perspectives. Through a series of sculptures, drawings, and works from the museum’s permanent collection, Delvoye questions human perception and social structures. Bypassing the conventional, Delvoye intervenes in the museum as an act of, in his own words, elegant vandalism. Indoctrinated beliefs are gateways to Delvoye’s disrupted narrative that scrutinizes ideas that affect our perception. Collections of quotidian items unlock a realm of the postmodern anti-aesthetic, while stimulating a reconfiguration of meanings.

By installing a Rube Goldberg machine throughout the exhibition space, Delvoye pierces through the hierarchies of culture that are reinforced by the museum space. The machine and its industrial tracks symbolize an act of disruption – one steel marble circles around Venus Italica, another penetrates a Picasso. Delvoye’s intricate circuit serves as a metaphor for the digestive system of culture, constantly moving between the sacred and banal. Four thousand La Vache Qui Rit labels eludes the exhausted consumption of art, a play on the emotional register of the ordinary. A laser-cut steel replica of the Tower of Brussels – an amalgamation of neo-Gothicism and the afterlife – rises in the middle of a wood-paneled room. Cultivated repercussions of horror vacui follow: plate armors and medieval weapons juxtaposed against luxury car bodies. In the closing space, versions of Delvoye’s cult classic work Cloaca and Jean Tinguely’s nouveau realisme clockwork expand on the idea of the mechanical and biological passage of time.

On view at Musée d’Art et d’Histoire until June 16th.

Text by Linnéa Ruiz Mutikainen. Images by Linnéa Ruiz Mutikainen and Musée d’Art et d’Histoire Geneve

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