Critics’ Picks

Peter Buggenhout, The Blind Leading the Blind #65, 2014, iron, wood, aluminum, rubber, polyurethane, fabric, 32 x 19 1/2'.

Peter Buggenhout, The Blind Leading the Blind #65, 2014, iron, wood, aluminum, rubber, polyurethane, fabric, 32 x 19 1/2'.

Bologna

Peter Buggenhout

Banca di Bologna Hall
Palazzo De’ Toschi, Piazza Minghetti 4/D
January 27–February 19, 2017

Amid the whiteness of a large room in the Palazzo De’ Toschi an installation by Peter Buggenhout takes on the significance of an imposing archaeological find—a mass of detritus, postatomic in feeling, that has touched down from the sky. For his debut solo show in Italy, curated by Simone Menegoi, the Belgian artist offers one of his largest works to date, The Blind Leading the Blind #65, 2014. The title, taken from a masterpiece by Pieter Brueghel the Elder and a passage from the Gospel of Matthew, is a metaphor for Buggenhout’s poetics, which aims to demonstrate the fragility of human knowledge and the impossibility of rationalizing reality. While this piece, thirty-two feet long by nearly twenty feet high, is scrupulously designed, it comes across as a chaotic arrangement of recycled materials. Iron, wood, aluminum, rubber, polyurethane, and fabric are rhythmically positioned in a variation of solids and voids, pushed toward movement but then crystallized. Covered in a blanket of dust, this corridor of objects is barely contained by a few drywall panels. The complex sculpture continuously reveals new details, leaving the viewer unable to immediately define it in its totality or to identify its process of deconstruction and mental reconstruction.

In an adjacent room, the show concludes with a piece from the same series, The Blind Leading the Blind #25, 2008. Smaller than the other work and installed in a transparent display case, it resembles a precious and enigmatic discovery: a contemporary vanitas.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.