Chris Lecler at Jeanroch Dard

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Artist: Chris Lecler

Exhibition title: Zest

Venue: Jeanroch Dard, Brussels, Belgium

Date: December 10, 2015 – January 23, 2016

Photography: images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Jeanroch Dard, Brussels

Belgian visual artist Chris Lecler (1981) has always had an interest in design, an influence that emanates in his sculptures, assemblages composed with the most diverse, heterogeneous elements. The design made by the religious order of the Shaker’s community almost functions as a backbone or rather a response for a series of works of which the artist presently shows some pieces at Galerie Jeanrochdard under the title Zest.

The shakers strictness bans everything related to joy or phantasy that is distracting the attention from God. Lecler took some of their compact, rational design solutions as a point of departure to create assembled sculptures that function on a logic of their own.

Take Colonial Swag, entitled after the elephant’s tusk, a decorative element that still adorns many contemporary interiors, illustrates the colonial ramifications of design. Tusks are often interpreted as a phallic symbol. Should it come as a surprise that these are still regarded as aphrodisiac by many Chinese ? It is linked through an iron construction – echoing the frame of the skeleton in a piece of design – with a stick that is partly displaying a folded poster featuring Jacky Chan, written in Arabic, further contributing to the mix of cross-cultural references. The poster is planted in what looks like a candle, yet is the mould of a can. On one of the iron tubes, two casts of middle fingers are resting. Lecler’s share of ongoing research that also recurs in his wall linking parts between gang culture, sign language and historical inecdote : this sign probably springs from medieval archers hand code during the war between french and british. The sculpture is almost a kind of surrealist cadavre exquis but then in the third dimension that is “beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella” (Comte de Lautréamont).

Lecler’s second assembly sculpture has even a stronger connection with design. Starting by design of a gramophone rack from 19’th century. The original shape was changed into a 3 chikens structures. The ensemble almost feels like a twisted version of a ‘nature morte’. It illustrates Lecler’s idiosyncratic interpretation of the medium sculpture through his play with materials and objects. He often uses, mass-produced, daily objects with Pop connotations (cans, lemons,…) that he gives a new aesthetics by hand-crafting them, playing with the contrast between serial production and the piece unique, between industry and art, between function and form.

By bringing the most heterogeneous objects together in an unexpected way, Lecler manages to create surprising correspondences and contrasts with a deeper, almost subliminal meaning that can range from religion over politics to psychoanalysis.

Sam Steverlynck

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Chris Lecler, emoji hands N°1, 2015

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Chris Lecler, brunch, 2015

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Chris Lecler, brunch, 2015 (detail)

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Chris Lecler, brunch, 2015 (detail)

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Chris Lecler, colonial swag, 2015 (detail)

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