Meessen de Clercq, Abdijstraat 2a Rue de l'Abbaye, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

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Lieven De Boeck: Image not found
Meessen de Clercq
18 January - 16 February 2013
Review by Elke Segers

The phrase type ‘Image not found’ centred on a blue screen typically indicates a lack of connection between DVD and slide projector; or similar IT-failures for that matter. However, this idea no longer holds ground when you know that the deep blue video projection is nothing but the full Los Angeles sky’ Disappearance proves to be as legitimate a language system used to create identity, than any other calibrated standard. In fact, unravelling these ubiquitous systems forms the core aspiration of artist and architect Lieven De Boeck (b. 1971 in Dendermonde, Belgium). Rather than confronting directly, he succeeds in converting the public domain into an intricate hide-and-seek: he hides and shows, mirrors and reflects, pretends and lies, imitates and copies. Does he hide behind the lies’ His practice is definitely a tightrope balancing exercise, as he believes in creating new typologies (even dictionaries) enabling him to grasp the above all ‘system-atic’ world around him. In this case Hollywood, as this exhibition focuses on works thought through or created during a recent residence in Los Angeles, aka ‘the City of Lies’.

Two neon letter sculptures ‘LetusbeUS’, one white and one black, visually and literally double-trip one’s intuition, as they can be read as a peaceful harmonising message, but also as the United States being pushed forward as the all impregnating nation. This much strived for morale is sensed throughout the exhibition in all mirrors integrated; and in their reflection. ‘The Hollywood Alphabet’ spells it out letter by letter: twenty-six meticulously chosen core concepts to survive in the world of cinema, each cut out in golden paper. Truth be said: only their mirror reflection is readable! The neon stipulating ‘I lie’ elaborates this idea of falseness: three different presentations show three different interpretations, all culminating in the notion that ‘all fiction is made up out of lies’. Can we even trust our own reflection in the mirror, as the last part of the Californian rebus of ‘Pour lire la solution, renversez l’image’ suggests’ Or should we turn the image around instead, shaking up our interpretative patterns’

‘Copy of original’ (initially a tattoo on the forearm of the artist) brings together twenty virgin white pages stigmatised to never touch authenticity. On a metaphorical scale this work could be included at the entry C in Lieven De Boeck’s ‘dictionary of space’, in which he reifies architectural concepts like occupation, appropriation, borders, territories, representation and identity. All to show that De Boeck’s sustained efforts to interrogate and classify signs and systems truly pay off. By making copies of copies, the author even totally disappears eventually’ dislocating and disarranging the spectator in terms of its imposed role. Through the billboard-like work, one side reflective, the other transparent, the world is seen differently: a pulled up basketball (its rotation speed reduced to quasi zero) is presented as a planetary alternative following the nerves as new and wavy meridians. A staggering jump shot to say the least.

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