Artist: Alexander Iezzi
Exhibition title: Beati Babies
Venue: Kantine, Brussels, Belgium
Date: November 9 – December 1, 2019
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Kantine, Brussels
He steps off the bus with shopping bags carried over his shoulders, digging into his white windbreaker. The bags are stuffed with mixture of Aldi promotional newsletters and glass jars filled with an orange-brown semi-transparent liquid. Empty electronics boxes are taped to a simple cart. Inside the boxes, small sculptures are fastened to the interior carton walls to prevent movement and breakage. A half-step jostles one bag, which begins to ooze, leaving a smelly trail.
What is a process? Like music, it is the happening of things through a series of distortions. In the work of Alexander Iezzi, things unravel, are transformed and mutated, and are remade. A scurrying line doubles back on itself.
What if pilgrimage could be thought of as a scurrying? To drop the point-of-view from roughly 5ft in the air to 1ft off the ground. The journey of the pilgrim becomes a textured, errant, looping movement, like an animal in the undergrowth. A living intention that undoes and remakes itself.
The Beati Babies are the blessed ones. Beatification is the process by which certain deceased are recognised by the Catholic Church as “blessed”. This means if you pray to them in heaven they can intercede on your behalf. The beati were ordinary religious people who dedicated their lives to the underserved. Beatification is an interesting state because it focuses on the earthly: the sourness of the world.
In the gallery we smell the sweet and acrid odour of homemade apple vinegar. Vinegar, literally “sour wine” is a natural preservative made from a fermentation process, today used as a condiment, a pickler, a cleaner. Although the profile of vinegar is as much brutal sensation (coughing) as flavour, it has interesting properties beyond that. Hildegard von Bingen, celebrated medieval mystic, thought that vinegar caused food to journey through the human body “as it should”. Vinegar opens up the palate to fully experience flavours and acts as a vehicle for flavours to comingle. Vinegar, then, is an opener, a carrier, a balancer that brings us to a state of “enhanced things-as-they-are”. A tang of beatitude.
What is a process? We are floor height, we are a mid-sized invisible animal. The perspective brings us to our feet, like a devotional crouch. To inspect the earth and the creatures that run amongst the dirt, and trash, scurrying in and out until the feeling of boundary is mushy rather than solid. A digestion, when a festering pile of apples becomes more than just putrid, but alcoholic. These apples, gathered by a traveller, are folded into a sack and stuffed into jars to brew, becoming sour and wonderful.