Peter Buggenhout - Los ciegos guiando a los ciegos
26 / 10 - 15 / 12 / 2017

La Galería Hilario Galguera se complace en presentar Los ciegos guiando a los ciegos, primera exposición individual de Peter Buggenhout en México, abierta al público a partir del 26 de octubre de 2017. Constituida por piezas de 4 series diferentes - Mont Ventoux, Los ciegos guiando a los ciegos, Gorgo y Mute Witness - esta muestra esboza varios aspectos fundamentales de su práctica escultural y presenta las producciones más recientes del artista. 

La obra de Buggenhout es un continuo evento de indeterminación existencial. A la vez un desenlace de negación y aserción, de implosión y expansión, desobedeciendo la distinción entre fuera y dentro, frente y vuelta, central y marginal, ascendente y descendiente, resistiendo la noción de un punto de vista fijo, minando el concepto de una identidad unificada y coherente; de una mismidad. Sus esculturas derivan, en gran medida, de las condiciones de vestigios. Formalmente desentrañadas, indefinidas y fragmentadas, aparecen como si hubieran caído del cielo o hubieran sido sacadas del fondo del océano, oponiendo la ilusión de persistencia y plenitud, así como de progresión y vencimiento. Simulando reminiscencias de ruinas, las esculturas de Peter Buggenhout plantean la idea de una producción positiva y en un sentido más amplio, la idea de una experiencia registrada, de una memoria grabada y de un conocimiento adquirido. Las piezas involucran una acumulación incontrolable de materiales, objetos, procesos y situaciones. 

La serie Mont Ventoux (iniciada en el 2006) se caracteriza por el uso de intestinos de animales, primordialmente estómagos y entrañas, como material escultural. Las dos piezas de Mont Ventoux aquí expuestas son condensaciones de estómagos de vaca con elementos tanto orgánicos como sintéticos. En vez de servir como el tejido que conforma los órganos internos, aquí el intestino cumple la función de un caparazón exterior; la piel del objeto escultural. 

El título Mont Ventoux alude a un texto de 1350 del poeta Petrarca que desenvuelve la historia de su ascenso al Monte Ventoux en la forma de una carta de amor. Buggenhout explica así su alusión: “Petrarca pensó que podía medir y dominar el mundo parado en la cima del Monte Ventoux, pero el mirar las cosas a distancia es una ilusión; es imposible inferir el panorama general estando en el centro de algo” La serie Mont Ventoux se percibe no solamente como un movimiento unidireccional desde la naturaleza hacia la cultura, pero también como un movimiento en otra dirección. Por lo tanto, descarta la pretensión de la humanidad de dominar y reconocer el mundo, y de deconstruir la narrativa de la historia como una progresión lineal. 

Los ciegos guiando a los ciegos, serie sobre la cual la exposición es titulada, es el grupo de piezas más prominente de Buggenhout y al que se le conoce comúnmente como “esculturas de polvo”.Producidas a partir de 2004, estas piezas son pilas de restos unidos bajo una capa de polvo, representando las propiedades físicas y formales de sus componentes ilegibles, obscuros y olvidados. Variando en escala y en formas de presentación, las esculturas de polvo no atestiguan a nada excepto a una pérdida incontrolable de la identidad propia; en el curso en el que las cosas no solo dejan de existir, sino que ya no pueden ser recordadas por lo que fueron. 

Los ciegos guiando a los ciegos es el título de la pintura de 1568 de Pieter Bruegel el viejo. Simbolizando las consecuencias de una vida sin fe, la pintura muestra una procesión temblorosa de hombres ciegos siendo guiada a una fosa. En el universo de Buggenhout, sin embargo, el título sirve para otro propósito, acentuando el hecho de que las esculturas de polvo no retratan nada y no sugieren ninguna referencia visual ni verbal equivalente por la que pudieran ser entendidas como una imagen distintiva. Excluyendo representación y significado, las esculturas de polvo eluden el lenguaje y el reconocimiento exterior y, por lo tanto, la razón exterior. 

Atrapadas en un estado concurrente de desbordamiento y solidificación, las esculturas de Gorgo son un resultado de sumergir materiales parcialmente identificables (desde cartón a pelo de caballo) en sangre de cerdo. Como tal, abordan el tema de la escultura como un ritual de sacrificio, un experimento en diversos niveles de materia y realidad. Pero, como lo muestra Gorgo #22 (2010), una de las cuatro esculturas de Gorgo presentes en la exposición, este cuerpo de obra también sitúa la práctica de Buggenhout dentro del reino del performance y del teatro. Gorgo #22, ligeramente delimitada por un marco torcido de hierro, simula un escenario que está asociado al teatro de la calle o al de marionetas; sus constelaciones escultóricas transgresoras junto con las cortinas que lo sostienen son personificadas como una criatura acrobática colgando de cabeza de la barra superior del marco. El título Gorgo conecta con las series de la mitología griega de las Gorgonas; las tres hermanas con pelo de serpientes cuya apariencia transforma a todo quien las contempla en piedra. El título caracteriza a las esculturas Gorgo como una interfaz dinámica entre lo bestial y lo inanimado. 

La serie de Mute Witness (2017) está compuesta de trabajos a muro tridimensionales, cada uno de los cuales consiste en una bolsa de tela endurecida y montada verticalmente en la pared. La “mudez” de estas piezas radica en la separación entre su superficie exterior y su espacio interior.

El rechazo del significado verbal de Buggenhout no le evita nombrar a sus piezas; ni una de ellas es “Sin título”. Los títulos son independientes, enfatizando la aperturade las esculturas al lenguaje, a la figuración. Los trabajos de Buggenhout ocurren dentro de un universo de materialidad básica (intestinos, polvo, deshechos, sangre), de materia amorfa que nunca podrá ser idealizada. En un universo de consciencia trágica enfrentado la efimeridad de todas las cosas. Es un universo de opacidad desconcertante que está introduciendo la ruptura entre percepción y cognición, de lo visible y lo actual. 

Peter Buggenhout (Dendermonde, Bélgica, 1963) vive y trabaja en Gante, Bélgica. Entre sus exposiciones individuales y colectivas en notables instituciones se encuentran: MoMA PS1, Nueva York, EUA; Palais De Tokyo, Centre Pompidou, Petit Palais y La Maison Rouge, París, Francia; Art Unlimited, Basilea, Suiza; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Kunstverein Hannover,  Hannover y Neues Museum, Núremberg, Alemania; Herzliya Biennial 2011, Israel; La Biennale di Venezia 2009, Venecia, Italia; Kunstraum Dornbirn, Austria; De Pont Foundation, Tilburgo, Países Bajos; Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania, Australia; M Museum, Louvain, Bélgica; Museo Espacio, Aguascalientes, México, entre otros.

 

Texto extraído de Visiting the Impossible: On the Sculpture of Peter Buggenhout de Ory Dessau

Traducción de María García Sainz

 

Hilario Galguera Gallery is honoured to present The Blind Leading the Blind Peter Buggenhout’s first solo show in Mexico, open to the public on October 26th, 2017.


Visiting the Impossible: On the Sculpture of Peter Buggenhout

Ory Dessau

The Blind Leading the Blind is Peter Buggenhout’s first solo exhibition with Galeria Hilario Galguera. Comprising works from four different series—Mont Ventoux, The Blind Leading the Blind, Gorgo and Mute Witness—the presentation outlines various fundamental aspects of his sculptural practice while at the same time addressing recent developments. Buggenhout’s sculptures are an ongoing event of existential indeterminacy. At once an outcome of negation and assertion, implosion and expansion, they disobey the distinction between inside and outside, front and rear, central and marginal, upward and downward, resisting the notion of a fixed vantage point and undermining the concept of a coherent, unified identity; of self-hood. 

To a large extent, Buggenhout’s sculptures stem from the conditions of the ruin. Formally unraveled, open-ended, and fragmentary, they appear as if they fell from the sky or were pulled from the bottom of the ocean, opposing the illusion of persistence and completeness as well as progression and overcoming. As simulated remnants of ruins, Buggenhout’s sculptures problematise the idea of positive production, and in a wider sense of recorded experience, of recorded memory and acquired knowledge. They involve an uncontrollable accumulation of materials, objects, processes and situations, responding to the world as an unpredicted, incomprehensible reality, devoid of direction or structure. Buggenhout’s sculptures are a cyclical activity. On the one hand, they are like an avalanche—a sudden intrusion of a disastrous state of things into everyday life. On the other hand, they are also like a wave, an eruptive outgrowth generated from the destruction, without denying it.  

Begun in 2006, Buggenhout’s Mont Ventoux series is marked by the use of animal intestines, primarily stomachs and entrails, as sculptural material. The two Mont Ventoux sculptures displayed here are condensations of a cow stomach with both organic and synthetic elements. Yet instead of serving as the tissue that makes up internal organs, here the intestines function as the outer shell, the skin of the sculptural object. 

Throughout the series, the Mont Ventoux sculptures relate to and embed their own process of production within the context of man’s cultivation of nature. However, Buggenhout’s use of intestines does more than define the birth of art as a shift from nature to culture; it turns real lives and deaths into sculptural materials. 

The title Mont Ventoux alludes to a text from 1350 by the Italian poet Petrarch that unfolds the story of his ascent of Mont Ventoux in the form of a love letter. In a conversation with the author, Buggenhout explains his allusion: “Petrarch thought he could survey and master the world standing on top of Mont Ventoux. This mastery is a lie, because looking at things from a distance is an illusion; it is impossible to get the overall picture when you’re in the middle of something.” With this explanation, the Mont Ventoux series is perceivable not merely as a one-way movement from nature to culture, but also as a movement in the other direction, thereby dismissing the pretention of humankind to dominate and acknowledge the world, and deconstructing the narrative of history as a linear progression.

The Blind Leading the Blind, after which the current exhibition is titled, is Buggenhout’s most prominent group of works and is often referred to as the ‘dust sculptures.’ Begun in 2004, these works are contourless stacks of wreckage concealed under a layer of dust, rendering the physical and formal properties of their components illegible, obscure, forgotten. Varying in scale (from medium-sized to monumental) and modes of display (stretched from the ceiling, mounted on the wall, placed on the floor, positioned on a pedestal, or encased), the dust sculptures cannot be harnessed or appropriated. They do not attest to anything except the uncontrollable loss of self-identity, in the course of which things not only cease to exist but can no longer be remembered for what they were. Buggenhout’s dust sculptures are climactic topographies of indistinguishability, brokenness, entropy, and decay. They express the subordination of everything—culture, history, and human existence—to nature; namely, to death, to dust. While demonstrating the inability to fixate things by burying them under dust, the works in The Blind Leading the Blind confront us with the improbable fixation of their own layers of dust, epitomizing a consistent inconsistency.  

The Blind Leading the Blind is the title of a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder from 1568. Symbolising the consequences of a life that lacks faith, the painting depicts a trembling procession of blind men being led by the one at the head of the line into a ditch. In Buggenhout’s universe, however, the title serves a different purpose, stressing the fact that the dust sculptures do not depict anything and do not suggest any verbal or visual equivalent by which they can be described or emerge as a distinct image. Excluding representation and signification, the dust sculptures elude outside language, outside recognisability, and therefore outside reason.

The Gorgo series pushes Buggenhout’s sculptural exploration even further. Caught in concurrent states of overflow and congealment, the Gorgo sculptures are a result of soaking partly identifiable materials (from cardboard to horse hair) in pigs’ blood. As such they address sculpture in terms of a sacrificial ritual, of an experiment in different registers of matter and reality. But, as exemplified in Gorgo #22 (2010), one of the four Gorgo sculptures included in the exhibition, the series also situates Buggenhout’s practice within the realm of performance, of theater. Gorgo #22 is loosely delineated by a freestanding, bent iron frame. Inside the frame, ramified debris is suspended in the air by two folded curtains. Soaked in pig’s blood, the debris is a conglomeration of rubber, plastic, cardboard, polyester, aluminum, and hanks of horsehair popping out of and winding around it. The whole setting is associable with street theater or puppetry, in which the transgressive sculptural constellation along with the curtains that carry it are roughly personified as an acrobatic creature hanging upside down from the top bar of the frame.

The title Gorgo connects the series to Greek mythology and the Gorgons, the three snake-haired sisters whose appearance transforms those who behold them into stone. The title characterises the Gorgo sculptures as a dynamic interface between the bestial and the inanimate. It specifically resonates the myth of Perseus and Medusa. In order to attack her while avoiding a direct eye contact, Perseus approached Medusa when viewing her reflection on top of his polished, mirror-like shield. As Buggenhout seeks to do, Perseus operated in an intermediate zone between reality and its reflection. For him, a reflection is not a static picture of reality but an operative factor in it.    

Buggenhout’s rejection of verbal significance does not prevent him from giving titles to all of his works, not a single one of which is ‘untitled.’ The titles are independent, emphasising the sculptures’ externality to language, to figuration. Buggenhout’s works occur within a universe of base materiality (intestines, dust, waste, blood), of formless matter that can never be idealised. It is a universe of tragic consciousness facing the ephemerality of all things. It is a universe of disconcerting opacity introducing the rupture between perception and cognition, the visible and the actual.

The exhibition The Blind Leading the Blind also features Buggenhout’s most recent series, Mute Witness (2017). It is a series of three-dimensional wall-works, each of which consists of a relatively large cloth bag that was stiffened and then mounted vertically on the wall. Each cloth bag is frozen in a different position and slightly varies in terms of shape, size, surface, texture, and color. 

The ‘muteness’ of the works derives from the separation between their outer surface and their inner space. The outer surface draws our attention to the inner space of the cloth bag but cannot testify whether it is full or empty. It remains a paralysed, mute witness to that which lies behind it. The unresolved discontinuity between the outer and the inner stages a sort of locked-in situation parallel to a pathological syndrome in which human subjects have lost access to their bodies and can only move their eyes. This locked-in situation simultaneously animates and neutralises the object. 

The immediate image the works in Mute Witness invoke is an abstracted human torso, a limbless body. The image of the limbless body recalls Gilles Deleuze’s and Felix Guattari’s concept of the ‘body without organs.’ Deleuze and Guattari describe our body as arrays of productive desiring-machines. During the desiring-production of our body, “a moment comes when the desiring-machines congeal and form an enormous undifferentiated object. Everything stops dead for a moment, everything freezes in place. That object is the body without organs, the desiring-machines at a zero-degree of intensity, a moment of anti-production constantly fed back into the process of production.”1 Hence, the body without organs is an entity of motionlessness conceived by and during a flux. Like the Mute Witness series, and Buggenhout’s work in general, it is an undifferentiated object which holds the secret of prolific multiplicity without telling it; which is affined to increasing complexity without exposing it. 

1. Ronald Bogue, Deleuze and Guattari, (Routledge, 2008), p. 93.

 

Selección de obra | Selection of Works



Gorgo #39, 2015
Sangre de animal tratada, pelo de caballo, yeso, madera, hierro, cartón, epoxi, plástico
60 x 108 x 57 cm



Gorgo #39, 2015
Sangre de animal tratada, pelo de caballo, yeso, madera, hierro, cartón, epoxi, plástico
60 x 108 x 57 cm



Gorgo #42, 2017
Sangre de animal tratada, arcilla, hierro, madera, pelo de caballo, papel maché, poliéster
64 x 164 x 70 cm



Gorgo #42, 2017
Sangre de animal tratada, arcilla, hierro, madera, pelo de caballo, papel maché, poliéster
64 x 164 x 70 cm



Gorgo #43, 2017
Sangre de animal tratada, cobre, pelo, madera, cartón, epoxi, textil
49 x 68 x 40 cm



Gorgo #43, 2017
Sangre de animal tratada, cobre, pelo, madera, cartón, epoxi, textil
49 x 68 x 40 cm



Mount Ventoux #23/i>, 2017
Poliéster, yeso, estómago de vaca, madera, metal, pintura
54 x 64 x 124 cm



Mount Ventoux #23, 2017
Poliéster, yeso, estómago de vaca, metal, pintura
54 x 64 x 124 cm



Mount Ventoux #24, 2017
Poliéster, yeso, estómago de vaca, madera, metal, pintura
118 x 92 x 85 cm



Mount Ventoux #24, 2017
Poliéster, yeso, estómago de vaca, madera, metal, pintura
118 x 92 x 85 cm



TBL #81, 2017
Metal, poliuretano, madera, polvo doméstico
90 x 140 x 212 cm



TBL #81, 2017
Metal, poliuretano, madera, polvo doméstico
90 x 140 x 212 cm



TBL #82, 2017
Metal, poliuretano, madera, polvo doméstico
82 x 146 x 190 cm



TBL #82, 2017
Metal, poliuretano, madera, polvo doméstico
82 x 146 x 190 cm



Mute Witness #1, 2017
Poliuretano, aluminio, textil, cera, tierra
73 x 63 x 15.50 cm



Mute Witness #1, 2017
Poliuretano, aluminio, textil, cera, tierra
73 x 63 x 15.50 cm



Mute Witness #2, 2017
Poliuretano, aluminio, textil, cera, tierra
111 x 63 x 20 cm



Mute Witness #3, 2017
Poliuretano, aluminio, textil, cera, tierra
109 x 89 x 22 cm



Mount Ventoux #16, 2015
Poliéster, yeso, estómago de vaca, madera, metal, pintura
125 x 120 x 95 cm



Gorgo #22/i>, 2010
Sangre de animal tratado, pelo de caballo, yeso, madera, hierro, cartón, epoxi, plástico, tela, poliéster, plástico, aluminio
209 x 127.50 x 299.50 cm




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