Yoann Van Parys

  • Renzo Martens and Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise, White Cube (trailer), 2020, video, color, sound, 5 minutes. From “Monoculture: A Recent History.”

    “Monoculture: A Recent History”

    It is somewhat ironic to have to speak in brief about the prodigious new exhibition “Monoculture: A Recent History,” organized by M HKA associate director Nav Haq. One could see the show as a reflection on the simplification society—simplistic society, even—in which we now live, an era where rash judgments reign. It is as if there were a systemic resistance to grasping the world’s complexity, even though we’ve never had such a clear image of it. The exhibition suggests that our current reality, far from being holistic, is structured by various factions of thought. Each is entrenched in its

  • Honoré d’O, Kalebas (Gourd), 2020, apple, bottle stopper.
    picks October 19, 2020

    Honoré d’O

    The Belgian Conceptual artist Honoré d’O spent the first few months of the coronavirus lockdown in a twelfth-century Romanesque church in Ghent, where, through multiple interrelated interventions inspired by the furniture and historical artworks collected there over the past eight centuries, he eventually created a single large installation. His works, sited throughout the church and its radiating chapels, borrow symbolism from Jan van Eyck, whose famous altarpiece graces the city’s Saint Bavo’s Cathedral.

    Tafel van Eyck (Van Eyck Table, all works 2020) is a mimetic reproduction of two shipping

  • View of “Sophie Nys,” 2019–20, Galerie Greta Meert, Brussels. From left: Two revolutions a day, 2019; Kellerloch (Roter Mainsandstein) (Kellerloch [Red Main Sandstone]), 2019.
    picks December 06, 2019

    Sophie Nys

    Much of Sophie Nys’s work deals with the relationship between domestic and political space; her practice is often associated with a Germanic literary imaginary that, though slightly out-of-date, she uses as a tool to comment on contemporary life. Nys focuses, in particular, on the metaphysic and folkloric sides of said imaginary, exploring the positions that both the bourgeois and the intellectual may occupy in time of crisis. Her current exhibition, “Etui of the private individual,” is a rigorous reflection on political lethargy no less relevant to the collective than to the individual.

    In her

  • Paul Thek, Untitled (Bouncing Earth, 2nd Time), 1975/92, etching on handmade Twinrocker paper, 10 x 7 1/2".
    picks September 23, 2019

    Paul Thek

    In 1989, twenty-eight copper plates that Paul Thek had etched with drawings and writings were discovered by the gallerist Ted Bonin and assistant Dennis Redmond in a New York City storeroom. Only a few prints were made during the artist’s life, which was cut tragically short by AIDS the year before. This exhibition presents a set of prints created, in 1992, from those plates, which themselves date to 1975. His earliest engravings, comet-strewn nightscapes with phrases such as “COMING OUT OF THE HILLS, AMERICAN PICASSOS, OR BUST,” were mistakenly prepared by Thek to print their exclamations

  • Will Benedict, Stop The Unrealistic Images of Liver in The Media, 2015, inkjet and graffiti on PVC in glass and steel frame, 73 1/2 x 49 1/2".
    picks July 03, 2019

    Will Benedict

    Will Benedict’s exhibition “A Womb with a View” proposes an ontology of the contemporary image. This ontology—whether inkjet-printed, as in Aspirin Falls, 2015, or painted in gouache and layered with foamcore, as in Vein of Trolls, 2017—totters about, wary of its foundations. Benedict’s images, despite their pitiful attempts, never manage to gain independence (fitting for this particular gallery). The dots in the ironic Black Polka Dots and Ocher Polka Dots, both 2019, are in the style of Damien Hirst. The only differences between the pair are the distribution and color of the spots. Both

  • Jacqueline Mesmaeker, Versailles après sa destruction (Versailles After Its Destruction), 2018, adhesive lettering on mirror, 25 x 16".
    picks February 25, 2019

    Jacqueline Mesmaeker

    Jacqueline Mesmaeker’s exhibition works well in the back room of Hermès’s Brussels outpost, not only because of the Belgian artist’s beginnings as a stylist but also because the venue offers her an opportunity to engage the French imaginary as well as the fashion house itself. Mesmaeker has drawn on this imaginary elsewhere (in relation to writers such as Valery Larbaud, Denis Diderot, and François-René de Chateaubriand), and La Verrière is, of course, filled with an air of luxury—something else the artist scrutinizes as she suffuses the space with her characteristic mischief. In a gold frame

  • Manuel Graf

    German artist Manuel Graf’s exhibition “Mediterraneo” (Mediterranean) opened with its invitation card, which lay upon a table and revealed an image similar to an illustration from an archaeological exhibition catalogue—that is to say, showing a series of artifacts and isolated documents against a black background. The card gave the exhibition title in several languages: Italian (Mediterraneo), Greek ( ), Turkish (Akdeniz), and Arabic ( ). This title designated the show as a single overall installation: a work from 2010 conceived of for the space. Having noticed this invitation with its ecumenical,

  • Philippe Van Snick

    Although providing an overview of Philippe Van Snick’s practice, this survey of the Belgian abstractionist’s oeuvre at the new and remarkable M-Museum was modest, taking up only five rooms. In the first gallery, one found a reconstruction of Dag//Nacht (Day//Night), 1986, an installation composed of one black square and one blue square facing each other on the walls of a narrow corridor, paired with two geometric monoliths made of wood and glass painted the same colors and facing each other in a similar way. The exhibition was not chronologically arranged—the same space contained (0-9) Stoel (

  • View of “Monday: Firework; Tuesday: Illuminations; Wednesday: Revolution,” 2010.
    picks May 26, 2010

    Angel Vergara Santiago

    The enigmatically titled “Monday: Firework; Tuesday: Illuminations; Wednesday: Revolution” is a surprising exhibition, comprising a wide-ranging installation by Spanish-born Belgian artist Angel Vergara Santiago. The work on view includes a copy of a fake newspaper, six paintings (vintage lithographs printed on canvas and reworked with oil paint), two display cases containing historical documents and objects, a rug with black-and-white text imprinted on it (reminiscent of Marcel Broodthaers), and seven videos projected on screens suspended in the exhibition space. The videos superimpose excerpts

  • Benjamin Verdonck

    The Belgian artist Benjamin Verdonck is best known for multidisciplinary projects in theaters, but in recent years he has also entered the stage of the visual arts, with performances as well as presentations in the context of exhibitions. Recently, under the title “On the Way to Work,” Verdonck featured a group of his visual art projects, all attesting to the transitions he effects between stage and gallery, action and object.

    This passage from gesture to material was made evident even in the exhibition’s title, which immediately suggested that the artist’s project resides in a creative process

  • Ann Veronica Janssens, Blue, Red, and Yellow, 2001/2009, transparent polycarbonate, color PVC gels, smoke machine, 100 x 83 x 82 1/2".
    picks October 27, 2009

    Ann Veronica Janssens

    Following solo exhibitions by noted international artists such as Mike Kelley, Yayoi Kusama, and Dan Perjovschi, it now seems that the two-and-a-half-year-old art center in Wiels, Belgium, will focus on a series of shows devoted to the country’s most distinguished contemporary artists. Several months ago, recent works by Luc Tuymans were on display. This time, it’s Ann Veronica Janssens’s turn; her exhibition will be followed by retrospectives of Francis Alÿs and Joëlle Tuerlinckx. Although Tuymans’s exhibit was somewhat disappointing, Janssens’s is an undeniable success.

    Known for multimedia

  • Leon Vranken

    One of the chief qualities of “The Traveling Riddle,” an excellent exhibition by the young Belgian sculptor Leon Vranken, was its sense of tempo. Of course, like a performance in the theater or on film, an exhibition always has a conventional temporal structure, with the installation of the work followed by an opening, then the show itself, followed by a deinstallation. But over the course of this process, who could really attest to a key moment, a precise duration, a model, a format, a definitive distribution of roles? One wanders through an exhibition at liberty, viewing the works in any order