No Shade in Paradise
Peter Buggenhout creates enigmatic objects of mysterious, undefinable quality; a succession of similar but constantly mutating, amorphous material assemblages; voluminous, sometimes room-filling accumulations of diverse, abject materials – wretched leftovers of humanity, unprocessable remnants of society. His works seem to be caught in a state between reality and imagination. Its titles refer to mythological, philosophical or biblical themes.
Buggenhout's works feel like timeless artefacts, like relics or accumulations of human traces from the distant future. In our age of dematerialization, their huge physical presence is comfortingly anachronistic, offering mystical and above all analogue commentaries on a digital world rendered uniform by globalization. As distinct characters, they inhabit a dynamic between creation, transformation, order and chaos, both autonomous and hermetic. There is much to be discovered in his sculptures, but any visual storage of their image can easily be memorized. The exhibition title, No Shade in Paradise, refers loosely to Plato's allegory of the cave in which shadows function as a metaphor for the simulation of reality. Buggenhout's works, on the other hand, can always be understood as ruthless disclosures of the reality they portray.
Neues Museum Nuremberg is hosting the first major solo
show in Germany of the Belgian artist Peter Buggenhout
(born 1963, lives and works in Ghent, Belgium), whose work
has already featured in many exhibitions internationally. A
cross-section of his oeuvre with new large-format works and spatial interventions will be shown in the main exhibition hall and in the rooms of the permanent collection.
The series The Blind Leading The Blind consists of gigantic
bodies covered with thick layers of dark dust. The consistency of their surfaces swallows the light. They look like wrecks salvaged from the deep, certainly from some other world, captured in time, preserved in decay. This impression is rendered in material terms by the dust that acts as the incarnation of time, marking a standstill. The sculptures in the Mont Ventoux series – with their inscrutable, microcosmic surface of tanned cow's stomachs that have been turned inside-out and stuffed – are visual landscapes in their own right. Gorgo is a series of smaller-format sculptures whose characteristic substance consists of horse hair soaked in pig's blood. Their title refers to the sinister snake-haired beasts of Greek mythology. Buggenhout's legendary creatures, too, appear remote from our world, as if frozen at a specific point in their own decomposition. On Hold presents ominous coloured objects consisting of flotsam/jetsam, leftovers and found items – in a fraught combination with inflated objects.