Galerie Fons Welters is proud to present the new exhibition by Belgian artist Jan De Cock, titled: ‘Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’.
For his sixth solo show at the gallery De Cock has turned the space into ‘a sparse and splintered romantic landscape’. A realm of autonomous sculptures that modestly seek each other’s company. While building on series from the past years, De Cock’s recent installation displays both his oeuvre’s cyclic structure as well as introduces new sculptural forms.
The exhibition follows ‘Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; a Romantic exhibition’, which was on display at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden in Spring 2012. Again, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, icon of ‘the Sixties’, is the leading character in an enigmatic narrative. Jacqueline embodies the romantic ideals of her age and symbolises the beginning of a culture of the ‘spectacle’. Although remarkably conspicuous by her absence, we might still find her in subtle references such as the colour pink reminding us of her famous ‘Chanel’ suit. In this series of works, Jan De Cock stages Jackie as example of a specific era as well as a timeless concept. After all, her often imitated iconic presence questions the nature of an image and makes us wonder what lies behind (her beloved dark sunglasses).
At Galerie Fons Welters, the artist presents two sculptural series bearing the initials JKO and composed of chipboard, several types of natural wood, plaster and acrylic paint. Together, these works create a concentrated yet playful view on Romanticism. In the gallery’s scenery, we can walk amidst several pillar-like sculptures. Lifted by a pedestal base, these slender constellations called Krise (Crisis) point upwards into the very gallery space, and at the same time can be traced back to the artist’s studio. A frontal view on most Krises illuminates their white cube completion, whereas plaster traces at the bottom and worn or raw surfaces at the back show ‘the flip side of the “spectacle”’ and reflect a continual unfinishedness.
The other, Romantik installations recall the visual elements and layering effect of the ‘Monument’ sculptures from De Cock’s previous show Repromotion at the gallery in 2010. This time however, the assemblages have been moved to the side and present themselves as reliefs, or ‘windows’, on the wall. Each collage starts with a large green lacquered steel frame. In front of and behind this, layers and plateaus of various wood types have been affixed. A resulting organic ‘interplay of openings, see-throughs and mist’ sets these sculptural landscapes in motion. JKO Romantik IX for instance, shows a rhythmic composition of lines that ultimately flow into an ever-streaming waterfall.
The ‘Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis project’ forms a complex web of carefully selected fragments. In addition to the sculptural installations, Jan De Cock has created two artist books; a collection of six photographic Cahiers and a Handbook. Through their encyclopaedic character they appear to guide the viewer, who is simultaneously left to wander the in-between. And also on the material surface of the sculptures – next to touches of soft pink, yellow, blue, red and green paint – the openness of the non-colour white shines. In opposition to today’s spectacle and visual saturation, Jan De Cock invites the spectator to take an in-depth look, and picture his or her own image.
Source: Johan Holten, Liene Aerts, Luc Dereyke, ‘Jan de Cock: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: A Romantic Exhibition (Handbook)’, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Koenig, 2012
Jan De Cock (1976) lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. He exhibited his large scale installations and interventions in diverse solo exhibitions such as recently at Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden Baden (2012); Galeria Filomena Soares, Lissabon; Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam; Palais de Bozar, Brussels (2009); MoMA, New York (2008); Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich (2006); Schirn Kunsthalle (2005); Tate Modern (2005) and De Appel, Amsterdam (2003).