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24 Feb 2011

Freek Wambacq at M – Museum Leuven

(c) Freek Wambacq, 'Lester taking the piss out of Hammons', 2010

Freek Wambacq
M – Museum Leuven


Exhibtion 24.02 till 22.05.2011 Open: Tue. till Sun., 11:00 till 18:00 – Thu. Till 22:00 – Closed on Mon.


+ 32 16 27 29 29

M – Museum Leuven
L. Vanderkelenstraat 28
3000 Leuven

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Freek Wambacq (°1978), Belgium establishes a critical link between the world of art and the world outside it. Brief encounters and idiosyncratic discoveries are the inspiration behind his art, which is both material and conceptual. Wambacq's extensive sculptural vocabulary makes use of found objects and everyday materials to which he gives new life in surprising combinations. The artist collects and arranges objects in an associative manner so as to form aesthetically challenging constructions. These constructions invariably refer to the objects' original function, while also telling complex stories and formulating sociological observations or associations with the history of art. Wambacq visits the borders of art and he does so with a subtle and often humorous undertone. This subtlety manifests itself both in the care the artist takes to position and present his sculptures and installations and in the titles he gives them.

Wambacq produced the group of artworks entitled 'Übst Du noch oder spielst Du schon?' (Still practising or already playing?) during his artist's residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin in 2010. In this multi-layered project consisting of several autonomous but interrelated works, Freek Wambacq questions artistry, the conditions for making art and its presentation. The title was inspired by a slogan for piano lessons in Berlin, which in its turn alludes to an Ikea slogan popular in Germany: 'Lebst Du noch und wohnst Du schon?' which loosely translates as 'Are you just living your life or loving your home?'.

Entitled 'Lester taking the piss out of Hammons' (2010), the central work on the wall, consists of a framed photograph and a large-format mural. The photograph is of artist Gabriel Lester (°1972, Amsterdam), who pretends to be urinating in a corner of the Lewis Glucksman Gallery in Cork, Ireland. The photograph refers to American artist David Hammons' 1981 performance Pissed off, which involved Hammons urinating against a sculpture by the famous artist Richard Serra. In Wambacq's installation this derisive act is translated to the exhibition space by means of a mural made using the so-called 'piss technique', which consisted of spraying the paint onto the wall with a fire extinguisher. And like graffiti, with this installation Freek Wambacq raises questions about the definition of art and the authenticity of its creation.

With other works like 'Blank art instruction magazines' (2010), 'Ideen muss man haben' (2010), 'Jackson Pollock and other stars' (2010), 'The gifted bricoleurs' (2010) or 'Dimensions du XXieme siècle' (2010), Wambacq set down a precisely arranged and layered exhibition imbued with humor.

is a Belgian artist who lives and works in both Brussels and Berlin. In recent years his work has been shown at (among other places) the Elisa Platteau Gallery in Brussels (2009), Netwerk Aalst (2008), the Artissima art fair in Turin (2008), S.M.A.K. in Ghent (2005) and Poetry Summers in Watou (2005). He has been short-listed for the Young Belgian Painters' Award exhibition at Bozar in Brussels this summer. In 2010 he followed a residency programme at the Kunstlerhaus in Berlin.