Artist: Gerard Herman
Exhibition title: Braaf Qua Jongen
Venue: trampoline, Antwerp, Belgium
Date: December 3 – 23, 2016
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and trampoline
When I asked Simon Delobel this spring (2016) to exhibit in trampoline, I had a dream the following night. In the dream, Simon had an enormous belly, like the one of a guy that works in a snack bar: an expanding lump of amorphous tissue, yet the rest of his body seems to be in relatively good shape. Simon was stark naked and only a black plastic bag was wrapped around his groin. On top of it all, the bag kept slipping down. trampoline had changed locations and was now a pita place. You could assemble your own sandwich at the counter. Everything was very dirty. There was a machine for making fries, but instead, it was spraying potato gunk all over the place.
I didn´t find out what this dream meant, and as a guide for this exhibition it was of no use at all. Summer passed, fall too. My back remained crooked, and to compensate I kept on wearing insoles. They needed to be replaced and I had them replaced. I passed by Simon when I had picked up my new ones. I showed him the old ones and told him I would throw them away. Simon advised me to make new work with it. They were two half soles. (In Dutch, a half sole means a loser.) If they had names I would have called them Gerard and Herman. I read that the term half sole was derived from the English arsehole.
However, I did not use the soles in the end, like many other ideas that I wanted to execute for this exhibition: jolly inventions, tiring jokes, pranks. There was too much time at hand, sometimes too little, sometimes the Steamroller of Obligations passed by and at times I was not in the mood at all.
A few loose tracks started to appear, like Pending Mail Art, that still needed to be sent but in fact would return to the maker. I wanted to send DIY parcels to Simon, containing all the ingredients for an exhibition. Or toys with a metaphorical meaning: the climber on a string who reached its highest point but is not capable to move, an acrobat swaying on the same rope, the rooster on the church that points to just one wind direction of indifference. I thought of a terrarium, filled with sawdust, sleeping hamsters and a lullaby. A drawing with a hole. Objects, lying around, catching my attention, and glued together started to lead another life. Empty books that you have to fumble with your thumb to play the soundtrack of a book fair full of doubting customers. I had an idea to make an infinite comic book. Or drawings of pissed corners, like in the palace of Louis XIV, other drawings with proposals for minimalistic paintings in the public space. A shepherd’s flute of tuned beer bottles that, according to the thirst will be tuned lower and lower.
On the other side of the street, a majority of the work of Robert Filliou is on display. What I find astonishing is that one work was not shown: dice with the letters of his first name. It could be possible that this work was never made, or that it wasn’t shown because it was not really finished yet, because his second name doesn’t fit. Still it is a strange coincidence that the idea would also be applicable to my own name, and I could see this as spiritual theft, but at the same time as a connection.
On a floor plan of the gallery, the potential way is described of a visitor who is bounced into the gallery, and without friction or any form of resistance leaves the place via almost the same route.
Every room is a song. I wish I could whistle this exhibition.