Axel Vervoordt Gallery is pleased to present, I am the Tablet, Peter Buggenhout’s second solo exhibition at Kanaal, an expansive installation that encompasses the Patio and Terrace galleries. The exhibition features 24 sculptures that, consisting of dilapidated or abject materials, turn away from any narrative, despite resources with a certain past, or constructions with a certain amorphous recognition. Besides works from the well-known series – The Blind Leading the Blind and On Hold – this exhibition also shows for the first time in Belgium works from the series I am the Tablet and King Louie.
Shortly before he died and to the great surprise of his fans, Lou Reed collaborated with the U.S. rock band Metallica. The song, The View, contains a kind of translation of precepts, given by God through Moses to mankind via the Ten Commandments or Decalogue. “I’m the aggressor; I am the tablet; These ten stories.” It became one of Reed’s most polarized releases – largely panned by the press; described by David Bowie as the best thing Reed had ever written.
These precepts are in stark contrast to the leitmotif of Peter Buggenhout’s work: human over-consumption, over-accumulation, decadence, the West’s protagonist feeling, impermanence and the digital dominance and rapid succession that results in a loss of attention and of the willingness to devote time. It is the latter that Buggenhout asks for as an artist, making sculptures that can only be mentally reconstructed in their entirety, after dedicating time and effort to comprehend. That dedication also reveals that despite the carefully constructed, confrontational, and uncomfortable disorder, the works also offer a stillness, a peace in their indeterminacy. It is as if the efforts spent in trying to understand the works result in a kind of compassion, perhaps even empathy.