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KOENRAAD DEDOBBELEER

Bringing Back Information from the Then There to the Now Here

2007 2008 2009 2010 2012 2013 2014 2016 2016 2024 2024

Micheline Szwajcer and Koenraad Dedobbeleer worked together from 2006 to 2016, and now want to celebrate and honor this by showing a selection of works from that period.

Several pieces from now (2024) act as contemporary reflections on some things from their past.

2054: The entrance to the exhibition space was hidden somewhere in the kitchen. This much had become clear. The first clue came from the living room. A swing rhythm resounded from the speakers, played on piano, drums and horns. The record player was set up somewhere among luscious plants in various ceramic pots. The sleeve was placed neatly on the floor, as if it were a sculpture. Perhaps that was also because of the picture that showed a composition of frankfurter sausages and two oranges. It was a recording by Jutta Hipp Quintet from 1954.

In 2010, on the occasion of his third exhibition at Micheline Szwajcer, Koenraad Dedobbeleer wrote: “Events show themselves more clearly through repetition; I have come to realise that with each exhibition I showed new works and simultaneously my efforts focused on trying to communicate the use (usage) of this given space. This however without wanting to betray the peculiar qualities belonging to a thing. Obviously, sculptures, being tangible and visible apprehensions, are meant to be more than mere space dividers. Certainly they often got denigrated to the quality of a stumbling block as Reinhardt (or was it Newman) chose to call them.” What happens when a structure is suspended on the wall? It is not a stumbling block then but rather a tool and an extension of the wall in space. Thus, we might view An Undivided Subject is Suspect from the same year 2010 as less suspicious. But what of the violet, pink and white colours applied to the two metal pipes? A dot of painting on an adjacency, yet indirectly connected to a wall. Is that perhaps where Italian architect Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978) comes in? He called himself “a bit of a museographer” and also spoke fairly dismissively about beams: “A steel beam never ends. It starts at point X and ends at point Y. When does a steel beam have an end? These are the problems that, in my opinion, are the causes of the crises of modern architecture.” An ionic capital, Scarpa thought, did have a beginning and an end.

Poor aesthetic full of meaning from 2016 could also hang on the wall as a sculpture, but the apparatus (a metal holder) resolutely places the wooden form with holes – including pink duster with horn – low on the ground. Why do I think of the meat products on the still lifes of Jean Brusselmans (1884-1953)? The sculpture would also not be out of place in furniture maker and designer Norman Potter’s (1923-1995) early 1960s kitchen. The kitchen became a modernist landscape, a room within an existing room with an imposing fireplace, complete with fluting, ionic capitals and a frieze. Potter wrote about the commission for the kitchen in his book Models & Constructs: “It is interesting that this kitchen is difficult to discuss in terms of ‘description’ and ‘detail’ because in fact it was all detail, and the classical task of subordinating components to elements (a preoccupation of mine) without losing their ready and natural availability, was here a special interest in the job. For instance, the client wanted certain items – mainly glassware – displayed and lit and on view from the dining area.”

2054: On the kitchen table rests what used to be called a ‘schoot-rekenaar’ (lap calculator) in South Africa. The flashy images on the screen come from an old YouTube channel. They are footage of a 1977 performance by The Rezillos. The lead singer, in violet rose leather clothes sings, “I love my baby ‘cos she does good sculptures yeah”. Under a head of lettuce hangs like a graceful echo Objectionable Material, a hand-blown luminous presence. And on a kitchen shelf lies Befuddling Coma, similarly confusingly mysterious glassware and both dating from 2024.

In a 2008 document, on the occasion of Koenraad Dedobbeleer’s second exhibition at Micheline Szwajcer, it reads that for him, a presentation is “offering or presenting something that is deliberately open and available”. After which a link is made with Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962). For instance, in The Poetics of Space, the French philosopher describes the spaces of his house by revealing in them the many different links to both myth and daydream: “In other words, reality cannot be separated from the different representations we make of it”.

Two volumes – ambiguous monuments but on a smaller scale – connect the kitchen with an office space. The original wall and partition was removed sometime in the early 1970s. The ‘formica’ layer of Think Before Mistake (2008) and Of Separating This Reuniting (2009) could be a mental mirror, a somewhat diminutive view on the industrial ruins of minimalism and conceptual art. Behind a desk hangs a screenprint on which ‘Now’ can be read in blue letters, surrounded vertically and horizontally by a red and black strip: The Real Reason of Good Design Remains Anaesthetic. This Is Tomorrow, In Your Mind.

Phillip Van den Bossche, 7 April 2024





Koenraad Dedobbeleer – exhibition view

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Pliant Judges, 2024

59,5 x 27 x 30 Ø cm

Hand blown glass, brass, electrical cord, light bulb

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Senseless, 2016

51 x 53 x 5 cm

Frame, fabric, book

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Compromise Discourse of Choice, 2012

28 x 82 x 71 cm

Paint on wood, metal foot

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Anguish Concealed by the Emotionmess Formulation, 2009

89 x 128 cm

4 color silk screen on paper

5ex+ 2AP

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For Off-the-grid Monasticism, 2014

48 x 35 x 60 cm

Powder coated steel

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More Fundamentally, the Truth of Art Critisism Is Not the Same Kind as Scientific Truth, 2015

49,5 x 45,7 x 21,6 cm

Wood, spray-painted metal and chrome plated steel

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An Air of Cruel Crudity, 2013

35 x 65 x 35 cm

Concrete, ceramic and paint

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Of Separating This Reuniting, 2009

48,5 x 48,5 x 61 cm

Laminated wood

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Poor aesthetic full of meaning, 2016

108 x 86 x 37 cm

Painted wood, powder coated metal, brass, fabric

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Objectionable Material, 2024

56 x 38 x 37 Ø cm

Hand blown glass, brass, electrical cord, light bulb, imitation lettuce

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I Would Divide the Enquiry, 2010

154 x 44,5 x 44 cm

Plinth (lacquered MDF), stained wood, spray painted metal, inkjet-print on photographic paper on Forex

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An Undivided Subject is Suspect, 2010

18 x 102 x 44 cm

Spray painted metal

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Deliberate Intention, 2013

12 x 12 x 12 inches

30 x 30 x 30 cm

Neon, plastic, electrical cord

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