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Almine Rech Gallery Bruxelles: NOT VITAL 'Hanging & Waiting' | YEESOUKYUNG - 14 Jan 2011 to 17 Feb 2011

Current Exhibition

14 Jan 2011 to 17 Feb 2011

Almine Rech Gallery, Bruxelles
20 Rue de l’Abbaye
B - 1050
p: +32 32 26 485 684
f: +32 26 484 484

Left: NOT VITAL, Hanging & Waiting
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Artists in this exhibition: Not Vital, Yeesoukyung

NOT VITAL 'Hanging & Waiting'

Almine Rech Gallery is pleased to present Not Vital’s first solo show at the gallery, entitled 'hanging & waiting'. Not Vital (b. 1948) was born in the small mountain village of Sent in the Engadine, Switzerland. Aged 18, he began to travel around the world, first studying in France and then establishing a Nomadic lifestyle that led him to spend extended periods of time in New York, India, Italy, Egypt and Niger. Most recently Not Vital has been spending considerable time in his Beijing studio due to his ever-growing fascination for Chinese language, culture and forms and the extraordinary skill of Chinese craftsmanship. Much of the work in this show was produced in China.

The notion of travel informs Not Vital’s work. This can be seen literally in the case of ‘A Plane, A Boat, A Car, A Sled’. This work encapsulates both the confusion of different kinds of travel often needed in order to arrive to remote places, as well as wittily and concisely presenting an imaginary, universal travel vehicle. Another piece concerned with travel is ‘Buses in Ouagadougou’, which raises issues of social awareness. It being an imagined bus stop highlights the lack of centralized community planning in Burkina Faso.

Crucial to Not Vital’s work the relationship between form, material and meaning. Not Vital questions conventions of form by abstracting natural or animal shapes, creating mutations and distorting scale. The form of ‘Unpleasant Object’ originated from a small spiky seashell, yet by enlarging it to monumental scale, simplifying the shape and adding symmetry to the spikes, the work embodies a sense of self-contained objecthood. Similarly ‘625’, a work derived from the sharp angles of a small quartz crystal, typically found in the Swiss Alps, takes on a sensuous and imposing form when the scale is dramatically increased and the sculpture executed in pinkish soap. Indeed, the choice of material in Not Vital’s work is never coincidental: the juxtaposition between soft, malleable, waxy soap and hard, sharp crystal; or white brittle shell and shiny silver stainless steel – all create a sensual tension and endow a physical self-consciousness to both the object and its viewer.

A final component of the exhibition is the presence of the animal. It is metamorphic and surreal in ‘Rabbit Turning into a Cloud’; abstracted and bordering on architecture in ‘White Tongue’; poetic and icon-like in ‘Naked Animal with Roof’; and explores mortality and challenges decorative associations in ‘Nietzsche’ and ‘Melting Deer’.

The underlying themes of this exhibition can be broken down as: sensuality and sensitivity of materials; abstraction and mutation; travel and sense of place; animal and nature. All of these elements, and more, contribute to the intrinsic contrariness of Not Vital’s sculptures, where they are immediately tangible yet latently enigmatic, presenting themselves as both self-contained object and powerful signifier.

© Alma Zevi


Almine Rech Gallery is pleased to announce the first exhibition by the Korean artist Yeesookyung in Brussels.

In her work, Yeesookyung anticipates the power that traditions still hold in contemporary art. She sees the artist as a medium who has come to relieve wounded souls, and the artist thus takes on the role of the new shaman. Her work enables her to connect with ‘others’, but it also connects the world as a whole by linking the past and the present. At the heart of her work one finds the idea of a rebirth through healing.

For this exhibition, Yeesookyung will present drawings from the ‘Flame’ series as well as her famous ‘Translated Vases’. These different pieces perfectly mirror the artist’s highly sensitive approach, in which a mastered chaos emerges, unfolding in an undefined manner.

Similarly, the ‘Translated Vases’ consist of a re-arranging, a re-assembling of china fragments which were left on the edge of an oven in order to be reassembled and reformatted, sutured by Yeesookyung and covered in gold leaf. Through her imagination, Yeesookyung gives a renewed life to objects which have lost their specific function, and thereby gives birth to new works of art. Thousands of fragments are necessary for this reconstruction process as well as a meticulous approach to find the pieces that can fit together. The ‘new’ ceramics lose their original, curved symmetry, and take on an informal appearance, which immediately draws one’s attention. Fragile yet powerful, a new equilibrium is born out of this reconstruction process: Yeesookyung has given them a new meaning. A destroyed and forgotten tradition is transformed into new, precious and unique objects.

Yeesookyung will also exhibit drawings from the ‘Flame’ series. Flames emerge out of lines, waves, and landscapes. They are drawn in the same red ink which the shamans once used to inscribe talismans. Yeesookyung draws fire and the inner chaos, and offers the audience a splendid view of her inner world through canvases measuring 196 x 260 cm.

Born in 1963, Yeesookyung is Korean, and lives and works in Seoul. Most recently, her work has been presented at the Arko Art Center in Seoul (2010), the Vancouver Biennale (2009-2011), and Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo (2009).

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