Galeria Jaqueline Martins [Brussels] is pleased to present ‘Instability of Fundamentals’, a solo exhibition of works by Philippe Van Snick (1946-2019). Organized in collaboration with the Philippe Van Snick Estate, the exhibition will feature a large-scale installation, and a selection of significant drawings, paintings and documentation. The exhibition will provide an opportunity to experience a particular body of work, which demonstrates the scope of formal, poetic and conceptual invention within which the artist created.
This will be the gallery’s inaugural solo exhibition of the artist’s work since announcing its representation of the Philippe Van Snick Estate.
In keeping with the gallery’s program of recreating historic presentations of work by our artists, the exhibition carries the title of the main work on view, ‘Instability of Fundamentals’, created in 1990 and presented that year at Zeno X Gallery in Antwerp. Later it was on view at Provinciaal Museum in Hasselt (1993-1994), at the National Gallery during the 12th International Winter festival of Sarajevo (1996) and Grazer Kunstverein (2016). This is the first time the work will be presented in Brussels.
This large-scale installation consists of eight painted wooden blocks placed on trestles, demonstrating the artist’s explorations on day and night, the rhythm of the seasons, and the passage of time.
“By presenting the blocks on trestles, I could elicit the notion of instability. A trestle is a quite trivial user object that [is] light and can be moved easily, but that still offers support as well. The trestles meant that I could have the colored volumes float, shape other constellations with them. Such work never starts off with ‘I am going to put volumes on a trestle’ as a preconceived idea. From the wish to work in the space and to convey certain ideas, the trestles present themselves at one point in the working process. At that point you notice that it is possible.”1
The positioning of the eight asymmetrical volumes in the space is variable. Many
configurations are possible. As in several other works, here he embraces duality. There is unity in the work as a whole but also in the scattering through its different elements. Philippe Van Snick had a great interest in observing the cosmos, the world, society and life. Every system has variables that lead to dynamic possibilities and ways of interpretation. This implies an alternation of moments of instability and stability. Each element of a system has a certain degree of autonomy, while remaining part of the collective whole.
On view for the first time, a selection of later drawings in the exhibition highlight the artist’s continual examination of the interplay between the human body and nature. Van Snick’s drawings are marked by a certain degree of abstraction. Taking inspiration from his immediate surroundings, he often staged the garden of his home in Brussels and his garden at Le Bos Nord in France.
“Gardens are enclosed areas in which plants and arts meet. They form ‘cultures’ in an uncompromised sense of the word.”2
The library of the gallery will host a selection of documents and books from the artist’s studio, providing a unique experience to enter in the artist’s intimate observations of the world. Philippe Van Snick was inspired by a combination of influences, from mathematical theories, philosophy, botanical sciences, cosmology and art history to his own studies of the minutiae of everyday life. Incorporating these diverse influences, he created unexpected paths to research and develop the possibilities of visual experience.
Through sculptures, drawings, paintings, photographs, and installations, Van Snick heightens the subtle levels of interplay between man, art, and nature. His works seem to connect past and present, the ephemeral and the eternal, it gives way to a poetry that links everyday experience with universal concerns.
1- Philippe Van Snick ‘Territorium’. Een gesprek tussen Philippe Van Snick, Wouter Davidts en Eva Wittocx, Kunst Nu, Ghent, S.M.A.K., December 2000, nr. 6, p. 4-9 (translated from Dutch)
2- Peter Sloterdijk: ‘Du mußt dein Leben ändern’