Following British sculptor Tony Cragg’s exhibition last year, Belgian conceptual artist Wim Delvoye is currently showing at Paris’ iconic Louvre in the museum’s now annual display of contemporary art.
sculptor Tony Cragg’s exhibition last year, Belgian conceptual artist Wim
Delvoye is currently showing at Paris’ iconic Louvre in the museum’s now annual
display of contemporary art.
-- a temple for classic art and traditional tastes -- is displaying
works by the controversial artist in three different spaces in its grounds:
under IM Pei’s pyramid, in the Tuileries Garden and within the museum itself.
exhibition, which runs until 17 September, takes the form of a kind of treasure
hunt with many of the artist’s 30 or so recent works in stained glass,
porcelain and bronze interspersed among the museum’s permanent collection. The
exhibition opens with a specially commissioned sculpture displayed under the
glass pyramid of the Louvre’s entrance hall. The 12m-high gothic-style twisted
steel structure called Suppo -- its name and torpedo shape an allusion to a
suppository -- is positioned as if to penetrate the pyramid’s point and sets
the provocative tone of Delvoye’s display.
majority of the artists’ works are to be found among the period artefacts and
furniture of Napoleon III’s apartments in the Richelieu wing. Some echo the
extravagance of the setting, such as his twisted bronze figures playfully
referencing 19th-century sculpture, which
provide an aesthetic continuum with the gold brocade curtains, flocked
wallpaper and gilded ornamentation that decorate the apartments. Some works,
such as the ceramic saw-blades displayed in a cabinet with period
paraphernalia, blend in so well that they have to be sought out. Other works
seem, at first glance, to fit in with their surroundings but incite gasps upon
closer inspection, such as the bronze hunting sculpture in which two
personified deer are fornicating, displayed on a dining table. And pieces like
the intricately carved rubber car tyres contrast at once with the luxurious
setting, but their beauty and craftsmanship actually resonate with richness of
no stranger to controversy: he is perhaps best known for his work Cloaca, an
installation composed of a large machine reproducing the effects of the human
digestive system to create, in essence, industrial faecal matter . And here,
with controversial works such as deformed crucifixes set on the grand dining
table and tapestry pigs sitting under grandiose crystal chandeliers, Delvoye is
certainly examining and challenging the status quo of an institution like the
Kim Laidlaw Adrey is the Paris Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes www.unlockparis.com.