Sperone Westwater is pleased to announce the exhibition “Wim Delvoye: Gothic Works” featuring nine stained glass windows in the tradition of medieval stained glass, which will be installed in the windows of the gallery. In contrast to their historical and ecumenical sources, Delvoye’s “Gothic Windows” reflect darker, more secular imagery. Sandwiched between planes of vintage colored glass, these images were mainly appropriated from a medical databank of pre-existing x-ray photography. In some instances, Delvoye has created his own x-rays, often erotic, done in a medically supervised Belgian clinic. These windows form part of an ongoing project in which Delvoye employs techniques associated with various vernacular craft traditions-- his 1999 life-size Cement Truck carved from teak first shown at the Venice Biennale; his taxidermied pigs tattooed with popular contemporary motifs; and everyday objects (shovels and gas canisters) rendered in the manner of Delft porcelain. Also on view will be examples of Delvoye’s “Sex-rays”(sexual x-rays), his stuffed and tattooed pigs, his S & M “Bird Houses” and a sculpture in the form of a Caterpillar carved out of wood particleboard in the “Gothic Style”. Much of Delvoye’s work emanates from the confrontation between historical objects and contemporary references that seemingly have nothing to do with each other, thus striking a balance between the reality of the moment and the romantic glorification of the past.
Wim Delvoye, born in Belgium in 1965, lives and works in Ghent and New York. The artist has gained international recognition through his participation in major exhibitions including the Venice Biennale in 1990, Documenta IX in 1992 and again, the Venice Biennale in 1999. Last Spring at the New Museum of Contemporary Art the artist exhibited his monumental and much acclaimed sculpture, Cloaca, 2000, a complex 33-foot machine that simulates the human digestive function.
A new catalogue, Wim Delvoye: Gothic Works, published jointly by Sperone Westwater and Manchester City Galleries (Manchester, England) will accompany this exhibition. This 152 page hardcover catalogue features full-color reproductions of the “Gothic Windows” as well as other new works by the artist. Essays by Edwin Carels, Birgit Sonna, Catherine Francblin and Philip Hoare.