Though Patrick Van Caeckenbergh is an essential figure in the currently lively Belgian art scene, he is less known outside his own country than artists like Patrick Corillon and Wim Delvoye. Perhaps this is because he works slowly and produces little. It might also have something to do with the fact that his art is less accessible than theirs, more complex in its self-mocking ironies and carefully maintained contradictions. Van Caeckenbergh’s elusive genealogical investigations, based on language and literature—not on the object, or even on language as post-Modern object (i.e., quotation and appropriation)—not only butt up against literal language barriers (texts in Flemish, a language unintelligible to most viewers, frequently accompany his works), they clash with the persistent antiliterary bias of contemporary art.

All of Van Caeckenbergh’s collages and constructions are animated

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the November 1993 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.