ART ROTTERDAM - SOLO / DUO
Willem Boel & Les Monseigneurs:
L’Ivresse du jeu - The intoxication of the game - De roes van het spel
Bruthausgallery, Art Rotterdam, 1/07 – 4/07/2021
At first glance the artworks of Thomas Renwart (Les Monseigneurs) and Willem Boel don’t seem to have a lot in common. A poetic butterfly charmer embroidering a punk world where Carla Bruni and Madonna would like to throw an afternoon tea party but be careful to be seduced because the dreamy patterns and one liners bear traces of a dark place.
And a sculpting painter whose work is never done inventing trouble leading to machines that don’t work but work so beautifully, the tools beam an air of abandonment but are showered with care, pouring delicately dripping layers of paint over some of them persistently until they leave the barn.
So why does the wicked game they play together work so well? Is it just the sense of aesthetics and pathos they both balance so celestially? Is it the wit and the charm? Or is it their need for complexity, effortlessly transformed into a confrontation with the power of simplicity?
Reading the words of British writer Olivia Laing, it becomes clear that the answer is uncomplicated, they are both gardeners:
“Gardening situates you in a different kind of time, the antithesis of the agitating present of social media. Time becomes circular, not chronological; minutes stretch into hours; some actions don’t bear fruit for decades. The gardener is not immune to attrition and loss but is daily confronted by the ongoing good news of fecundity. A peony returns, alien pink shoots thrusting from bare soil. The fennel self-seeds: there is an abundance of cosmos out of nowhere”.
And then Laing asks: “Can you plant a garden to stop war? It depends how you think about time. It depends on what you think a seed does, if it’s tossed into fertile soil. But it seems to me that whatever else you do, it’s worth tending to paradise, however you define it and wherever it arises.”
All are invited to be captured by their intoxicating doubles.
Femke Vandenbosch, 2021