21.03.2013 — 04.05.2013
In his new exhibition at Base Alpha Gallery Geoffrey de Beer is showing work from the “Art Relics” series. In this series de Beer glorifies the status of a number of artists whose work became the subject of a “relic”. On the basis of the hierarchy and the importance of ecclesiastical relics he makes a transposition / comparison with a hierarchy within contemporary art.
Another obvious starting point is the fact that until deep into the nineteenth century, original and copy each had its own value and copying was a legitimate practice. Art was seen as the artistic representation of a certain order, that of God, nature or other utopian discourse. If an artist got his inspiration from the work of another, there was no original and copy, but a multiple reflection of an order that was recognized by both artists.
From these theoretical parallels, and also from a visual parallel, several steps in the hierarchy are created. In a first series he, in the form of a documented performance, rubs pieces of cotton on original artworks. By this tactile touch he is trying to transfer the aura of the original work on a piece of canvas, which subsequently receives a sacred framing as the Shroud of Turin.
In a second series of these low relics, the cloth is supplemented with cheerful, ’50s-looking holyday photos to Lourdes or Compostella, where he himself is always represented with the original artwork in question.
In the solo exhibition “La Reproduction Interdite” he wants to compare this glorification and superstition, and open it further up. Glass cloches, where personal objects of the respective artists are combined with a strong narrative element. These cloches are referring to the “Besloten Hofjes”, which beguines were producing for centuries to decorate churches and chapels. De Beer enforces these lovely fairytales by incorporating clear references to the artistic work, as well on a spiritual basis by displaying the personality of the glorified artist.
The visual design for the exhibition he derives from the painted art rooms of Frans Francken II (1581-1642). As in these types of art collections and wonder rooms from the late 16th early 17th century, de Beer wants clarify his inspirations through a very rich arrangement with clear references to previous curatorial projects. Very contradictory, his work is also controlled by a certain soberness of a 17th century Calvinist church interior.
The title of the exhibition comes from a work of René Magritte. Like this surrealist artist, de Beer is fascinated by images, similarities and the riddles that they set. Especially the doubling of an image and transferring a surreal message with a clear conceptual background.
Like Edward James, the most important mecenas to the Surrealists, he conceals his real personality behind a dandy-like appearance. By not showing his face, de Beer opens, like Magritte did with Edward James, something of complex artistic personality.
Opening Thu. 21.03 at 19h