September 17 – October 24, 2020
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Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present “Four,” an exhibition of new and recent work by interdisciplinary Belgian artist Kasper Bosmans. Continuing his longstanding use of references spanning cultures, periods, and traditions in order to speak about ongoing socio-political issues, the show specifically uses the multivalent act of collecting as a springboard into discussing topics both deeply personal and profoundly universal.
The main feature of the exhibition is a multi-panel enamel mural that displays, to-scale, the eggs of all birds painted by seventeenth-century Dutch artist Melchior d'Hondecoeter. Fitting with the genre of Dutch still life, d'Hondecoeter meticulously depicted birds brought back to the Netherlands by way of the East India Trading Company's Asian routes, as well as those endemic to Europe, and in the process created a body of work that was equal parts ornithological catalogue and phenomenological Kunstkammer.
Bringing this art historical reference into the twenty-first-century, Bosmans elects to only depict the eggs of d'Hondecoeter's catalogue of birds. Rife with symbolism - from renewal and fertility, to consumption and commodification - Bosmans's eggs coyly reveal the commercial impact on the West's portrayal of history, a fact underscored by the enamel medium utilized for this work, which harkens to a material closely associated with advertising.
Other parts of the exhibition further this use of historical factoids in service of topical commentary. A site-specific sand installation, a bold natural-hued mural, and a number of readymades all point to the possibilities for collection as both a necessary survival tactic and an imperialist predilection. The visual language that Bosmans adopts to investigate these issues finds added exposition in the artist’s ‘Legend’ paintings. These small-scale paint on panel works display symbols and iconography that allow the viewer to scan the pieces for discernible clues with which to “read” the forms and themes that Bosmans considers throughout the larger exhibition.
Taken as a whole, “Four” presents a body of work that collectively melds Bosmans's interest in history with his deft craftsmanship, producing an immersive environment that is both politically aware and temporally detached.
Kasper Bosmans was born in Lommel, Belgium, and currently works between Brussels and Amsterdam. Solo exhibitions of Bosmans’s work have been mounted worldwide at institutions including: Fuerstenberg Zeitgenossich, Donaueschingen, Germany; De Hallen, Haarlem, Netherlands; S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium; Witte de With, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Centrale for Contemporary Art, Brussels; CIAP, Brussels; and MuHKA, Antwerp, Belgium. In the coming year, solo presentations of his work will be held at WIELS Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels and Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro in Milan. Additionally, a major monographic catalogue of Bosmans’s work was recently published by Walther König, tracing a decade of Bosmans’s practice and artistic output.