Artist: Horrible Bise
Exhibition title: De gustibus et coloribus, non disputandum
Venue: Deborah Bowmann, Brussels, Belgium
Date: September 9 – November 5, 2016
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy the artist and Deborah Bowmann
On the occasion of Brussels Gallery Weekend, Deborah Bowmann Brussels, its representatives and Deborah Bowmann herself are pleased to present ‘De gustibus et coloribus, non disputandum’, The first solo show of Horrible Bise in Belgium.
Taking the deformation of the stereotypical elements of the exhibition space as a starting point, the trio marks the start of their intervention at Deborah Bowmann with the destruction of the galleries furniture, and using what remains as their primary material for their work. A physical but also figurative destruction: the window, a major element of visibility for the gallery, is completely concealed, the desk, the place that signifies commerce and exchange, is dismantled. At different points the artists undermine the function of the gallery itself through the abolishment of certain characteristic features. Purple neon lighting completes the work of distorting the main elements of the exhibition space.
Like Victor Hugo looking with melancholy on the ruins of Greco-Roman civilisation, the trio of French artists recreates an environment of ancient fantasy, complete with colonnades, frescos and draped in an ambiance of pink and blue hues. To the first gesture of brutal destruction, the artists rejoin a sensible and mannerist reconstruction: from mad destruction to poietic recomposition.
We are reminded of the Roman Empire’s process of spolia, which entailed both the reuse of fragments of Roman monuments and the use of captured foreign artworks and monuments -war spoils- in the construction of new buildings. Even if the construction materials used here are admittedly not hard blocks of stone, they are materials that are symptomatic of our contemporaneity. In this way, the melamine from the destroyed furniture, the main construction material of the artworks, recalls the imperial, bureaucratic, and administrative characterization of our time. A form of reevaluating the contemporary in either its current ruined form, or in its potential future ruin.
Within these modern remnants, archival photographs of the artists posing half-naked during a hypothetical drawing class can be seen. They both reaffirm the idea of ancient statuary and introduce the idea of the ‘poser’, a central element in the practice of the three artists. These images, at the same time, give the artists the role of antique statues and act as supports, pedestals for the diverse artworks. Fragments of casts of the artists’ bodies, and floral wreaths further remind us of the monumental nature of all of the artworks; the framing of the artists’ themselves as monuments in the context of a ruin.
Horrible Bise is a rock band that does not play music but rather plays materials, that does not play gigs but instead plays compositions. Between performance and sculpture, Horrible Bise operates as a meeting point for the cult of attitude and imagery specific to rock culture and the world of contemporary art. For the majority of their installations, the band produces sculptures in order to ‘pose’ on them, which, as accessories, act as pedestals for the three artists. They are forms of glory, shapes or situations understood as supports that allow the band to assert their attitude and celebrity. Thus, the compositions that the trio produces rarely function in isolation, but rather are activated through the specific context of each project. At Deborah Bowmann gallery, however, for the first time, the band has decided to withdraw from the stage.