Zeno X Gallery is proud to present Le Monde à l'Envers, Patrick Van Caeckenbergh's eleventh solo exhibition since he joined the gallery in 1987. Patrick Van Caeckenbergh schematises, catalogues and maps out the world in his own unique way. He reveals particular parallels between scientific theories, folk tales and mythologies. He formulates alternative thought structures that are often very topical and critical.
Le Monde à l'Envers brings together various installation works and models that emphasise the importance of caring, on both a personal and global level. The figure of the shaman plays a leading role in many of the works. For Patrick Van Caeckenbergh, the shaman is an intermediary or threshold figure with whom he identifies; like the artist, the shaman finds himself on the border between two worlds that he tries to bring into contact with each other. Like Van Caeckenbergh, the shaman spends most of his time observing reality before he can introduce a solution or cure. Because of his particular position within society, he can function as an intermediary or transmitter of information. Het anatomisch theater (De waterval) (The Anatomical Theatre (The waterfall)) demonstrates the delicate balance the shaman has to seek out.
The inverted anatomical mask visualises the fact that the shaman is in contact with both the upper and lower world. The mask can be unfolded down to the womb, by analogy with the journey the shaman must systematically make to the womb to be able to perform his ritual. The mask shows the human body as if it were a theatre and in this way illuminates the shaman's heightened sensuality. The artist considers himself a 'cosmogonologist': he studies stories about the creation of the universe. Motifs such as the egg, the snake and the drop of water regularly appear in Van Caeckenbergh's oeuvre. The egg, for example, is a universal symbol for the origin of the world, while the snake–because of its ability to shed its skin – is often associated with eternal life. In the collage Niets is wat het lijkt (Nothing is what it seems) we see both the cosmogonic egg, the drop of water and the volvox. The latter is historically the first creature on Earth that could die.
Maquette voor een monument voor het antropoceen (Model for a monument to the anthropocene) brings together some elements specific to humankind, such as speech and DNA in the form of a double helix. The monument itself provides an overview of the world's rivers to represent the abundant presence of water in the human body. Maquettes and models are a constant in the work of Patrick Van Caeckenbergh. Sometimes they are smaller versions of larger sculptures, new forms by which to relate the same phenomenon or 'life-size scale models'. God dobbelt niet (God doesn't gamble) tackles Werner Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. The German founder of quantum mechanics reached the conclusion that particles do not move according to fixed laws but that coincidence and randomness play a major role. With this sculpture Patrick Van Caeckenbergh draws a parallel to the arbitrary character of human fate and life.Since 2017 Patrick Van Caeckenbergh has had a solo presentation at the Museum of Fine Arts Ghent, where his work is engaged in a dialogue with the collection. In addition, he has donated his entire studio or 'cigar box' to the museum, where it has been given a permanent place.
Patrick Van Caeckenbergh has had solo exhibitions at the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nîmes, FRAC PACA in Marseilles, Museum M in Leuven, La Maison Rouge in Paris, Kunstverein Bonn, De Vleeshal in Middelburg, FRAC Champagne-Ardenne in Reims, Musée Gassendi in Digne-les-Bains, Netwerk in Aalst, Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, and many others. His work has also been included in group shows, such as the Venice Biennale in 1993 and 2013, the Taipei Biennial in 2014, and in the Tate in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris, ICA in London, de Appel Arts Centre in Amsterdam, Culturgest in Lisbon, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and many more.
Press release courtesy Zeno X Gallery.