On Sculpture and Violence

Introductory note to the works displayed here below:

EX VOTOS

Based on the ancient practice of offering a gift to deities to request the healing of a diseased body part. The gift was often a sculptural representation of the
affected body part.
These works address the unbalanced power relations between authorities and its subjects. It also touches on the inherent contracual mechanism of offerings. The gift is reduced to a mere token of subdjucation or power, (in case of potlach) calculation, circulation functioning in a sacrificial economy of symbolic exchange.
The gift locks the giver and receiver into a mutually destructive relation.
The threat of punishent is implicit

Read An Eye for an Eye

EX-VOTO

Anatomical deformations represent a divergence from normality. An alien manifestation in an otherwise well ordered system.

The etymology of monstrosity suggests the complex roles that monsters play within society. ‘Monster’ derives from the Latin, monstrare, meaning ‘to demonstrate’, and monere, ‘to warn’. Monsters, in essence, are demonstrative. They reveal an uncomfortable  truth.

They act as important social tools.

EX VOTO

Inspired by an ancient design for votive offerings but also by a birth anomaly where children are born with the ears still attached to each other and under the chin. 

See Visual Database

EX-VOTO

Coming from a divinity, the saying “an eye for an eye” assumes here another meaning. i.e. “I will spare you your eye if you give me another eye instead”.

There’s a latent violence in the demand. It suggests an imbalanced relation between two parties where one power over the other.

EX-VOTO

Beside addressing the above mentioned in regard to power relations, sacrifice and the exchange economics of gift giving, this and the following work also addresses the myth of the Amazones. It is believed that they amputated (removed) one of their breasts to handle a bow and arrow more freely and wage war. The amputation of breasts also relates to (breast) cancer which represents a dramatic change in one’s live. The status quo is violently disrupted. Also breast implants and the societal imposition of an ideal of beauty that goes against nature and its attempt to counter inevitable natural processes such as decay and entropy. Hopeless attempt to maintain status quo.

PUTTI

Addressing the censorship issues encountered on online platforms where children’s facial features are “removed” to protect their identity.
The absurd claim to protect someone’s identity, or freedom, or civil rights, exactly by removing it from them. A reply often given by authorities:
“We are doing it to protect you”. Also addressing iconoclastic practices throughout space and time.

TORSO

Based on a misunderstanding of
classical beauty. When first unearthed, classical torsos were found without arms or legs. The found artworks introduced a new aesthetic and similar torsos became a fashionable theme, regardless of their incompleteness.Torsos are stil being sculpted according to this standard and the strange idea of beauty found in a human trunk without limbs is still embedded in our aesthetic value. If one has to make torsos, there must be a sound reason for it that goes beyond the mere repetition of old misconceptions. Perhaps the actual portrail of a real limbless body such as that of a child victim of a bombing that resulted in the removal of his arms as of his family members. See Visual Database

STONE INSCRIPTIONS

Mostly written in Trajan Font, the letters of emperors. Inscriptions, just as monuments, were meant to glorify important authorities or state a specific law (the ten commandments were written in stone). Behavioral guidelines to function properly is a specific society. The threat of punishment is always present.

SERVITE IN TIMORE

“Serve (God) in Fear, Rejoice (God) with Trembling. Extract from the 2nd Psalm. Removed the word “God” to address all kinds of authorities. The text is a clear example of how authorities expect their subject to behave in relation to them. Offers a very old but clear statement of how societies are administered by fear. See: Paul Virilio, The Administration of Fear. Very obvious threat of punishment.

INBIDE, CALCO TE

“Envy, I step on you”. After an ancient mosaic in Ostia Antica. Doormat. People are invited to step on the stone and wipe off their feet. The cleansing ritual will eventually eliminate the text “by means of removal”.

ACHERONTA MOVEBO

“Fléctere si néqueo súperos Acheronta movebo – If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell.”

Virgil – The Aeneid

Used by Freud, Zizek and others, the motto to every radical revolution, is here literally stirred in order to create chaos and challenge the order if things. This work is still to be realized in 2020. Dimensions approx: 150 x 150 x 6 cm

EINE BLOßE FORTZETZUNG DER POLITIK MIT ANDEREN MITTELN

Quote from Carl von Clausewitz
Removed the words “Der Krieg ist” as the new quote would refer to the inscription (the artwork) itself.
Performance piece.
The works still needs to be realized.
Once finished it will be placed vertically in the exhibition space and pushed to fall on the ground and break into many pieces.
Dimensions: 200 x 90 x 2 cm

FRIEZE

Are we aware that earlier temples – sacrificial spaces – were initially adorned by the very objects that were sacrificed in that same temple?
Carvings of cows and goats heads in stone are simply an eternal replacement of the original ones.
Could this be a frieze from a temple of fertility or of a place where genital mutilation (removal of) takes place.

SACRIFICIAL ALTAR

Everyday object are regularly sacrificed on the stone altar. It’s not about the sacrificed objects but about sacrificial practices in general, specifically according to René Girard’s study on Sacrifice and Violence. Also according to Wolfgang Sofsky’s claim that violence happens in well defined spaces. In this case, the stone altar functions as such a space where violence is justified and accepted. The altar bears the marks of the violence and is literally impregnated with the fluid of the sacrificed.

MARBLE OFFERING

Inspired by heads of pigs that were offered to the gods of the underworld on the corners of the streets in Havana.

See Visual Database

SLAUGHTERED/SACRIFICED MARBLE BLOCK

Inspired by a slaughtered/sacrificed goat
encoutered in the streets of Havana.

See Visual Database

MONUMENTAL WORKS

JERUSALEM STONE

The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, Palestine

Read Jerusalem Lives

KATANGA LIBANGA

Monument to the unsung workers

National Museum of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo

STONING NR.2

Read On Stoning and see performance below

PERFORMANCES

STONING NR.1

OFFERING

15 VARIATIONS ON A CUBAN THEME

Cuba has two currencies, one for the locals and one for the tourists. The latter is worth 25 times more that the other. This references to the inequality between foreigners and locals.
Natives must repeat a gesture or effort 25 times for this gain equality with the one of the
foreigner. Addresses also economic exchange values and the violence of economy.  This violent transaction is furthermore visible in the cavity in the marble produced by the exchange. Strictly speaking, the exchange can be seen literally as a sculptural act.

ANOINTED

SLOW SCULPTURE

Slapping this stone daily for 5 minutes each time.

WASHING

STONING NR.2

Read On Stoning

PHOTOGRAPHY

OFFERING

All the stones that have been cast into the sea – thus lost forever – during this performance have been individually photographed.

Photographies will be printed at the exact measurements of the original stones.

A|B|B|A

Border markers between Antwerp and Borgerhout. Borders as contracts of nonviolence as long as one stays within the premises.  See Walter Benjamin’s notion of borders and the myth of Niobe. A boundary stone on the frontier between men and Gods. A representative of law-making violence.  Role of stone in delineating borders, thus as a complice to the enactment of not only physical but also structural violence. Interesting to point out the placement of the stones and the letters. In two cases the letters are next to each other, in one they are opposed and in another one is flipped horizontally. These choices of representation all command a specific position to which the two parties are to take in respect to one another. 

There are 15 such stones in Antwerp. They will all be photographed in 2020

RESTORATION 

Public statue in Madrid. 

The breast have been carefully restored/replaced/renewed. Why only the breasts? Did they also started to be affected by old age and gravity? Or were consumed by caressing hands of interactive passers by? In any case, the transplant is very noticeable. 

STAUTE OF ISIS

The first acquisition of the MAS museum in Antwerp.
The ancient statue in permanently displayed in the public section of the museum’s storage.
Safely stored behind bars. To “protect” it from external threats.
Within current political event the statue can be interpreted as a representation of another ISIS.

FOUND SITUATION

Cobblestones are used to keep window shutters closed.
Paraphrasing Zizek:
Are we aware of how much force/violence is needed to keep things as they are?
Addresses invisible, normalized systemic
violence