GRIMM is pleased to announce If I Wrote a Poem, a solo exhibition of new sculptures by Nick van Woert (1979, Reno, NV) at our Amsterdam Keizersgracht gallery. This is the artist’s fifth solo presentation with the gallery and his first solo presentation in The Netherlands since Violence at GEM, Museum for Contemporary Art, The Hague (NL) in 2016.
The title of the show, If I Wrote a Poem, refers to an earlier work called If I made a list of everything I touched in a day it would be a poem that could have never happened at any other time in history (2018). It is safe to presume that these new works are that list and that this poem is about the difficulty of trying to understand the genealogy of materials. For van Woert, the materials we use are a direct reflection of who we are. He references the ancient Roman figure the Haruspex, who determine the health of a location by inspecting the dissected entrails of animals found in that location, and the French entertainer Michel Lotito (1950-2007), or ‘Mon- sieur Mangetout’ which translates to Mr. Eats All, who was famous for consuming everyday objects such as bicycles, a Cesna aircraft, and a coffin, to reinforce this idea. If Monsieur Mangetout was dissected by the Haruspex, his entrails would quite literally reflect his environment. What would the Harus- pex interpret from his entrails? This thought begins to suggest that the figure and the landscape are interchangeable. You are what you eat.
There is a persistent, pervasive association connecting our identity to the materials we surround ourselves with. As land- scapes, the works are not so much a depiction of a space, traditionally untouched and natural, but a conceptual consideration of how everyday materials, when turned on their head, can register life through a vocabulary that brings attention to the zeitgeist. Van Woert’s sculptures are part anatomical - like a dissected body, and part landscape. These intuitive, visceral sculptures are a continuation of van Woert’s inter- est in altered states. Nothing is what it seems – these works propose an architecture of illusion. “I’m walking around sober in an intoxicated landscape. It’s a dream sequence where landscape and self-portrait melt together giving form to our psyche. It’s like being in a dream - the laws that govern all things are suspended and nothing makes sense.”