WESLEY MEURIS

The work by Wesley Meuris is marked by speeches. Though his sculptures may be considered as seemingly taciturn and contemplative on the outlook, his works are ostensibly more capacious and expressive than their neutral surfaces might imply. Here one could speak of a feigned silence and neutrality, as his works are charged with ambiguity and a sense of powerplay between various actors, among institutional bodies, artists, visitors and the artworks they come to present and encounter in a readily subjective experience—so often presented as objective matters of fact. Driven by an ongoing interest in the dynamics and politics of display, among exhibition formats and institutional models, Meuris’ work is concerned with the fundamental spatial languages of displaying and exhibiting within art contexts—spatial and written languages made of objects, reference and classification systems that essentially enable and support museological knowledge production and distribution through classification and hierarchization. Here it is notable to mention his ongoing projectand organization FEAK (The Foundation for Exhibiting Art & Knowledge), which grapples with the diverse aesthetics and workings of large scale exhibition enterprises. However, rather than merely supporting, in Meuris’ work the object of display becomes both subjectmatter and subject in its own right. Making a close reading of the materiality and conceptual underpinnings of display modules, among plinths, pedestals, vitrines, cabinets, information displays and book publications, and their embedding within the exhibition, the institutional archive and library, Meuris shows us how and by what means these structures and figurations are vision-inducing and transporting devices that create environments, enable and control perceptual conditions, and provide groundings for the production of subjectivity. In other words, the context of exhibiting art becomes the content of the work, as the the vice of conceptual artist Michael Asher goes.

 

(Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk)

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