Gladstone Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition with Belgian artist Peter Buggenhout. Working with industrial and found materials, Buggenhout creates large-scale sculptural installations, which, upon first glance, appear to be abandoned structures or remnants from a disaster site. Taking as his medium what he describes as abject matter – everyday materials that have been disassociated from their original use and repurposed – Buggenhout creates looming structures, whose formal complexity and clear, predetermined, internal logic, is revealed only upon closer inspection.
The exhibition, Caterpillar Logic II, features two large-scale installations, The Blind Leading the Blind #66 and The Blind Leading the Blind #67, which have been created using old building and industrial materials and garbage that are blanketed in a layer of dust. The title of the works, which Buggenhout uses for all of his dust works, is drawn from the work by Pieter Bruegel the Elder of the same name, which depicts a group of blind men leading one another through a village. Like Buggenhout’s work, this painting shows a scene that at first appears to be chaotic – filled with groping, directionless figures – but upon closer inspection is revealed to have an internal logic and process, which the men have determined as they journey from town to town. This notion of a complex system becoming clear only upon closer examination is central to Buggenhout's work, and, as the exhibition title suggests, echoes the way in which there is an innate, yet invisible logic to the butterfly form that a caterpillar will eventually assume.
Buggenhout creates his intricately built assemblages with the intention of undermining any semblance of symbolism that could be suggested by the form of an individual material. His interest in dust grows out of this formal logic, as he feels that dust is a material that has no meaning in and of itself, but which has the ability to change the form and meaning of things, since it is drawn from the detritus of people, objects, and places. As he says, “Materials I work with are very abject. The abject as described by Georges Bataille is a material that is withdrawn from its original state and has lost its form and meaning because of it…And this uncertainness completely wipes away the symbolic approach of the work and the material…I believe that all these different aspects and layers in the work are openings for different interpretations but I never give a clue. We all project what we see.”
By removing any symbolic qualities, Buggenhout focuses the visitor’s attention on the work, enabling it to be considered only within the context of itself. Taken together, the works create an immersive and otherworldly environment, inviting viewers to investigate the monumental forms before them.
Peter Buggenhout was born in 1963 in Dendermonde, Belgium, and currently lives and works in Gent, Belgium. Buggenhout has been the subject of solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group exhibitions at notable institutions including: MoMA PS1, New York; Palais De Tokyo, Paris; Art Unlimited, Basel, Switzerland; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany; Kunstverein Hannover, Germany; Herzliya Biennial 2011, Israel; Kunstraum Dornbirn, Austira; De Pont Foundation, Tilburg, Netherlands, La Maison Rouge, Paris; and Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania.