Sperone Westwater is pleased to announce an exhibition of drawings and scale models by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye. The exhibition includes 30 drawings, which will be exhibited in tandem with several scale models of Delvoye’s signature gothic sculptures. The first major exhibition of the artist’s works on paper in New York, the show presents a unique opportunity to examine Delvoye’s drawings and sculptures side by side. According to Jean-Pierre Criqui, Delvoye is “a tireless, even compulsive maker of drawings.” Indeed, the artist’s works on paper—part blueprint, part painterly exercise—reveal Delvoye’s intense process of creation, the skilled draftsmanship and meticulous attention paid to detail behind each of his contradictory and subversive works.
The sculptures on view are all unique works crafted in laser-cut stainless steel, small-scale models for his full-size gothic renditions of industrial equipment. Delvoye’s work celebrates paradox, building on the Belgian surrealist tradition of combining two disparate elements/ideas in a single work of art—in this case heavy machinery and the exquisitely detailed and elegant style of gothic and baroque cathedral architecture. His hybrid models of cement mixers, caterpillars, and other large-scale functional equipment present an atypical and intriguing combination of historic ornament and industrial design, questioning what is sacred and what utilitarian as they inhabit the worlds of the banal and the distinctly uncommon.
Many of the drawings on view are related to “Cloaca,” the artist’s monumental and much acclaimed sculpture that simulates the human digestive function. “Cloaca- New & Improved” was first exhibited in the U.S. at The New Museum of Contemporary Art in 2001, and the artist is currently at work on “Cloaca – Quatro,” the fourth version of the sculpture-machine, which will be exhibited this spring at The Palace of Fine Arts, Brussels in a show entitled “Visionary Belgium,” curated by Harald Szeemann. A scale model for “Cloaca - Quatro,” executed in vinyl, will be on view in the gallery, in addition to Delvoye’s gothic sculptures of a caterpillar, dump truck, and flatbed trailer.
Born in Belgium in 1965, Delvoye currently lives and works in Ghent, Belgium and Berlin. The artist has gained international recognition through his participation in major exhibitions including the Venice Biennale in 1990 and 1999, and Documenta IX in 1992. Recent projects include an exhibition for the Public Art Fund entitled “Wim Delvoye: Gothic,” on view in Central Park and at Madison Square Park (June 2003), and survey exhibitions at the Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon, France (June - October 2003) and the Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, in Prato, Italy, (October 2003 - early 2004.)