A Pinault Collection exhibition as part of Kering’s Women In Motion programme
On 17-18 September, Kering will participate for the seventh time in a row in the European Heritage Days, welcoming the public to its headquarters, the former Laennec Hospital located at 40 rue de Sèvres in Paris.
As it has each year since the site reopened in 2016, the Pinault Collection is participating in this event; this year, it will present an exhibition of works by Belgian artist Edith Dekyndt in the Laennec chapel. Inertial is an exhibition of works from the Pinault Collection and of new pro-ductions that was designed specifically for the unique space of the chapel within the former Laennec Hospital. Works were chosen or created and ins-talled in conversation with this unusual heritage space. These interactions between heritage and contemporary creation lie at the heart of the missions of the Pinault Collection’s museums in Venice (Palazzo Grassi—Punta della Dogana) and in Paris (Bourse de Commerce).
Curators : Emma Lavigne et Alexandra Bordes
Women In Motion
For the first time ever, the Pinault Collection exhibition will form part of Kering’s Women In Motion programme, which shines a light on women in the world of arts and culture. Women In Motion began in 2015 in the field of cinema, but it has since extended to photography (notably through a partnership with the Rencontres d’Arles), music, choreography, art, and design.
The force of Edith Dekyndt’s work stems from her belief that every object is a living organism that interferes and resonates with its host environment. As an artist, she is constantly reconsidering humans’ place in the world and their relationship to their surroundings. In its articulation of the discrepancies between appearance and reality, subjectivity and nature, and inertia and life, Edith Dekyndt’s work asks us to rethink our expectations and habits, ultimately to open our eyes.
Titled Inertial, the exhibition confronts us with the power of being in the world, even for the humblest expressions of life. All the works presented here, from the monumental to the most intimate, emphasise this vitality. The exhibition resonates with the theme of the 2022 Heritage Days of “Sustainable Heritage”.
The first piece that viewers entering the space encounter is titled Visitation Zone (2020), a set of vivaria and aquaria from the Riga Zoo that had initially been featured in the biennial that took place in Latvia’s capital that same year. Now ins-talled in the Laennec chapel, Visitation Zone reactivates issues near and dear to the artist’s heart: decomposition, disappearance, and interaction. As recurring figures and forms of preservation in the artist’s work, the empty aquaria and vivaria leave traces of the animals who once occupied them: smudges, dust, scratches, cracks, and dirtying marks. This ghostly sculptural ensemble is accompanied by a choreography in which a woman moves about slowly, making ordinary gestures (moving and cleaning things) that nevertheless pay close attention to the surrounding space that the glass containers have structured. These domestic gestures—often performed by women and generally far from view, before opening to the public, to customers, or to visitors—highlight an ambiguous alliance shrouded in a mysterious spirituality. Laennec’s long history of monks who cared for the incurably ill resonates anew in this chapel through this piece.
Edith Dekyndt continues her exploration of her favourite materials alongside this work: “light, water, and fabrics that move, transform, and even disappear”. Like Visitation Zone, they become vectors of this inertia that is rendered commonplace, an ambiguous appropriation that pushes back against domestication, overcomes sepa-rations, and overturns a sense of authority.
In an interplay of light between the vivaria placed on the ground and the stained-glass windows of this former church, a velvet fabric recalls the artist’s connec-tion to the textile industries of northern France and its delicate embroideries, which she has rendered even more complex through the use of broken glass. What has been broken has here been repaired and reconstituted. Edith Dekyndt uses these two, highly ordinary materials – fabric and glass – to provide us with sublimated images and moments that arise from natural, physical processes which generate these effects and metamorphoses ad infinitum.
In the main nave, before the altar, hanging some seven meters in the air, is a textile made of blue and white stripes. This fabric was previously buried directly in the ground for several months: minerals, roots, bacteria, and insects all left their mark on it, creating transparencies in some places and reliefs in others. Some parts of the fabric were only lightly damaged, while others were completely consumed. Like a terrestrial extension of the ceiling from which it hangs, the work is both ghostly and deeply rooted in a sense of materiality. It plunges viewers into “a fantastical dimension in which inani-mate objects come to life”.
Echoing the works created for Laennec, the pieces from the Collection, from Winter Drums 06 B (Tryptic), 2017 to Winter Drums 04, 2016, Blood lacque 013, 2017, and The Kingdom (Morsum 08), 2017, bear witness to her visual, almost alchemical research, which has led her to use the most diverse materials (from resin to horse blood, fabric, acrylic glass, and beyond) to achieve a certain purity of thought and contemplation. In her frequent use of symbolically laden organic materials, the artist asks us to confront the inescapable transformation of life by pointing to what remains imperceptible for being ephemeral and, thus, inherently variable.
“The world’s phenomena fascinate me: waves, physics, the microscopic, and the macroscopic. It’s just amazing that all this works. We are so used to heaviness that we consider it normal. All it would take is just a bit more or less, the slightest change for this fact to dissipate. This is why I show objects as they are: to reveal the fascinating existence of things”.
Born in 1960 in Ypres, Belgium, Edith Dekyndt lives and works in Brussels and Berlin. Edith Dekyndt was the second artist to be invited as the Pinault Collection’s artist-in-residence in Lens, where she worked from September 2016 until June 2017.
Edith Dekyndt’s work has been exhibited at international institutions such as the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Latvia (2020), the Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2020), the Hamburg Kunsthalle, Germany (2019), BiennalSur, Buenos Aires, Argentina ( 2019); TANK, Shanghai, China (2019); Punta della Dogana, Pinault Collection, Venice, Italy (2019); Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2017); Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, Cuba (2015); Toledo Museum, Ohio, USA (2015); Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St Louis, Missouri, USA (2014); Kunsthalle, Vienna, Austria (2014); Cultural Center of Belgrade, Serbia (2014); Biennale de Lyon, France (2013); Moscow Biennale, Russia (2013); MOMA, New York, USA (2011); MAC’s, Grand’Hornu, Belgium (2009); and Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2009).
Recent solo shows include Concentrated Form of Non-Material Energy, Stiftung St. Matthaüs, Berlin (2022); Visitation Zone, Part. II, Le Marais, Le Val St Germain (2021); The Ghost Year, Greta Meert Gallery, Brussels (2020); The White, The Black, The Blue, Kunsthaus Hamburg (2019); Blind Objects, Carl Freedman Gallery, London, (2017); They Shoot Horses, Konrad Fischer Gallery, Berlin, (2017); Air, rain, pain, wind, sweat, tears, fear, yeast, heat, pleasure, salt, dust, dreams, odors, noises, humidity, DAAD Gallery, Berlin, (2016); Ombre indigène, Wiels, Brussels (2016), and Théorème des foudres, Le Consortium, Dijon (2015).
Her works form part of public and private collections including the Centre Pompidou (Paris), MoMA (New York), Skulptur Park (Cologne), Crandford Collection (London), Albright-Knox Collection (New York), CNAP, (Paris), Pinault Collection (Paris), Kunsthalle Hamburg, Buffalo Museum, Kadist Collection (Paris), MUDAM (Luxembourg), Kunstmuseum (Liechtenstein), Cadic (Amsterdam), the FRAC contem-porary arts foundations of Picardie, Lorraine, Brittany, Pays de la Loire, Alsace, and Réunion (France), Mukha (Antwerp), and BPS 22 (Charleroi).
Edith Dekyndt has been an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for Arts, Canada, 2004; University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, 2006; Program Gallery, Berlin, 2007; University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 2011, University of Hasselt, 2012, Ne’-Na Artspace, Chiang Mai, Thaïlande, 2013 and 2014, Akumal Residency, Mexico City, 2012; the DAAD Artists’ Programme, Berlin, 2015-2016; and the Pinault Collection, Lens, 2017. In 2019, she received the Finkenwerder Art Prize.
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