Nel Aerts at M – Museum Leuven

Artist: Nel Aerts

Exhibition title: The Waddle Show; a counteract

Curated by: Valerie Verhack

Venue: M – Museum Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Date: October 25, 2019 – March 15, 2020

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and M – Museum Leuven

Nel Aerts at M – Museum Leuven

Starting on 25 October 2019, M is presenting a solo exhibition by the Belgian artist Nel Aerts (1987, Turnhout). Aerts has transformed the architecture of the hall and thus introduced her own universe into the museum. The exhibition brings together both older and new work, including a series of new sculptures that Aerts is exhibiting for the first time.

Nel Aerts. The Waddle Show; a counteract

Nel Aerts’ practice combines painting, sculpture, drawing, collages, performance and film. Her explicitly figurative work is populated by often tragi-comic figures that she renders in simple lines and large blocks of colour. These strange characters recur in the most diverse media and often appear to be reflections of the artist herself. With or without a mask, the artist implicates herself to evoke an image or an idea.

In her exhibition at M, these clownish figures on the walls become the audience of a theatrical stage in the middle of the exhibition space. The snake-shaped plinth refers to a sketch on which the exhibition is based. On this plinth, Nel Aerts presents a new series of stacked sculptures that she has entitled Waddle Works. They form a kind of fragile parade of objects that are suggestive of a process of risk -taking and possible failure. These are varied curiosities that Nel Aerts has been collecting for years. A coconut head rests on a soup bowl, which in turn balances precariously on a misshapen plastic cup.

During the Playground Festival (14-17 November), Aerts will activate her ‘theatre’ with a performance that will add an extra layer of meaning to her exhibition.

Parallel with The Waddle Show; a counteract, Triangle Books is publishing the first monograph about her paintings.

Nel Aerts studied Fine Arts at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. She has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally, including at the Westfälischer Kunstverein Münster, Kunsthalle Lingen, Warande Turnhout, Horizont Gallery Budapest, M HKA Antwerp, Astrup Fearnley Museum Oslo and Aargauer Kunsthaus Aarau.