Lieven de BOECK, Let us be us, again and again, CC BRUGGE

Deconstructing and Reconstructing mind and

form, again and again

The current exhibition of Lieven de Boeck

(Brussels) in the Bogardenkapel is the first part

of a collaboration with the Fonderie Darling in

Montréal (Canada). The second exhibition will be

on show in september of this year.

In the Bogardenkapel de Boeck presents an

installation which combines new work created

during a residence at the CIRVA in Marseille 2012-

2013 and existing works which are representative

for the thoughts he develops in his oeuvre.

The thread in his work is a fundamental

questioning, a back and forth – sometimes subtle,

playful, sometimes very radical – between the

universal language of abstract forms and the more

detailed language of signs and words.

Generally his poetics can be seen as the poetics

of the recluse, the concealed and the hidden, and

this by means of the aesthetic use of the omission,

the copy paste, the covering.

This all led almost in a natural way to the use of

white as the predominant colour in his work.

The idea for ‘The white flags project’ arose during

his visit to the HQ of the United Nations in

New York in 2006.

As a reaction to the arbitrary alphabetic

arrangement of the flags according to their English

name, de Boeck introduced a playful order based

on their formal characteristics.

He identified 6 categories of motives (stripes,

crosses, circles, stars, moons and figures) and

classified them subsequently according to the

number of colours in the flag.

Afterwards the colours were erased by making the

flags from white semi-transparant paper.

In the process he used as many layers equal to the

erased colours.

Stripped from all colour and in a way purified

these national flags lose at first sight their original

function and peculiarity.

It is as if de Boeck removed all religious, historical

and ideological symbols and references – or rather

neutralises them. The forms are hollowed out

and remain visible, as if they are negatives or


Thus his installation receives a spooky outlook

and his work symbolises the resistance against

any form of limitation of the identity and against

narrow minded nationalism.

He does not focus on the differences between

the symbolic constructions, on the contrary, he

emphasises on their resemblance.

At the same time the work can be seen as a

warning against the image of a joint identity which

leaves no space for peculiarity or diversity.

In that sense and as a symbol for the collaboration

between Cultuurcentrum Brugge and Fonderie

Darling, two new flags were made on actual

size : the flag of Québec hangs in Bruges and the

Flemish flag will be shown in Montréal.

De Boeck created the installation ‘Mikado LDB

Modulor’ in Marseille and it consists of 21 long,

fragile mikado bars made of blown glass. In

choosing this material he accentuates the fragility

and precarious balance of the deconstruction

or dismantlement which is associated with the

mikado game. While the previous work treated

the deconstruction of the identity, the present

work deals with a literal deconstruction.

This mikado extends another work which consists

of glass lego-cubes and which will be on show in

Montréal. Both projects are playful interpretations

of the phenomenon of building and dismantling.

They depart – which explains the term ‘modulor’

from the title – from the discovery that the

dimensions of the renowned plastic building

blocks are based on the Fibonacci sequence, a

mathematical set which lies amongst others at the

base of Le Corbusier modulor.

In ‘Mikado LDB Modulor’ de Boeck uses the

Fibonacci sequence to determine the specific value

of each bar.

Both by the choice of materials or the unit of

length (instead of using the universal unit of

length ‘foot’, he uses his own foot) de Boeck

questions with this work the impossible game

of the architect with the ideal dimensions in

architecture, and by extension the impossibility

to create the ideal man or mankind - something

which the organisations of the United Nations are

aspiring for.

Both projects refer to a fysical, material

or intellectual and cultural dismantling or

reconstruction. They make us reflect on the

relative, artificial and conventional character of

each form of representation and classification.

Hence we question in the end the conventional

parameters which tie us and which enable us to

develop ourselves in a spontaneous way.

This explains the title of the exhibition and

also the title of the third work of de Boeck : the

neonsculpture ‘let us be us’.

The caption refers – as in the other works-

to the idea of freedom, independence and

reconstruction. The illuminated words are

moreover painted in black, as if to show that

the manifestation of any form of questioning is

enhanced when the characteristics are reversed.

23.02.2014 - 14.04.2014