16th July 2010
You are kindly invited in Freemen Gallery for the exhibition
The Consumption of The Suffering with work from Peter Weidenbaum
Exhibition in Freemen Gallery Marktstraat 11, Aardenburg, NL
Opening Friday the 16 th of July at 16.00 PM
Open from 17 th until 25 th of July daily from 13.00 until 18.00 PM
Open from 26 th of July until 8 th of August Saterday and Sunday from 13.00 until tot 18.00 PMInfo www.freemengallery.nl
Exhibition in The Sint Baafskerk, Sint Bavostraat 5, 4527 CJ Aardenburg, NL
Open from 17 th until 25 th of July daily from 11.00 AM until 18.00 PM,
Open from 26 th of July until 29 th of August daily from 13.00 until 17.00 PM.
The Consumption of The Suffering – Peter Weidenbaum
‘Strange… what love does. So strange…’
The aesthetic experience of The Consumption of The Suffering by the Belgian artist Peter Weidenbaum can best be described between two phrases from the movie Inland Empire by the American director David Lynch. The aesthetics of suffering pass by treacherously fast. The work of art that Peter Weidenbaum exhibits in the unique location of the Church of Saint Bavo in Aardenburg still tries to grasp and retain these aesthetics.
The story Peter Weidenbaum tells in The Consumption of The Suffering is a retrosymbolic narrative in three dimensions. It shows images that are both massive and unique. They are all iconic representations that encompass a spectrum ranging from the bestial to the divine. They are charged with the mythical energy imbued in our daily life, as intense as it is subtle, but we only feel connected with this energy when we are reminded of it. If it presents itself, it does so suddenly. When we enter the church we can therefore hardly experience the three parts of the installation just like that, unsuspecting, without a why and wherefore. Just for once, the religious surroundings are not intended for religious devotion or mere spiritual contemplation. The aesthetic experience that The Consumption of The Suffering induces is not a dogmatic confession of faith, it is a public perception of reminiscence and catharsis, it is a modern evocation of universal suffering.
The three parts of this work of art together tell a three-dimensional tale of the Passion. It speaks of suffering as consumption of pain and redemption. The slaughtering of the sheep lies at the dimension of animal grief. It refers to the original symbolism of the sacrificial ceremony. The consumption of the sacrifice is represented in bling-bling: the sacrifice cast in shining bronze hangs high, its feet tied to a rope. The life that is draining away from the animal, rises again in the Ferrari-red colour of the sculptures below the bronze image. The suffering is leaking out into the living room and has mingled with cosy kitsch. The sculptures are stripped of their consolation and intensify the procession of suffering. This is the second dimension of The Consumption of The Suffering. It shows the consumption of domestic life, the domesticated suffering that hides behind every façade – “to bear one’s cross”, as the old saying goes. With this hellish, Ferrari-red group of sculptures Weidenbaum turns this surreptitious suffering inside out. It becomes perception for the general public and prompts for mass consumption, as if with the glance of every observer the pure, almost sacral aesthetics are thrown on the free market and traded like a portfolio.Finally, in the third dimension we accede to the divine world as a retrosymbol. The universal Madonna, the mother of all nations is epitomized in the portrait of the late Princess Diana. Weidenbaum brings us in popularized ecstasies with this image. It is utterly difficult to refrain from adoration when looking at a photo that has travelled around the world as an obituary card. Diana’s image is still massively produced and is distributed worldwide for everybody’s private consumption. This is the consumption of mediatized suffering.
The Consumption of The Suffering by Peter Weidenbaum unfolds like a movie with Lynchean layers. It explores the dimensions of suffering that is both so familiar and so weird. The church of Saint Bavo in Aardenburg transforms into an intensely Gothic archetype for this exhibition. The work of art mingles with the ecclesiastic surroundings, without really wanting to be religious. The aesthetic experience is a confession without purpose, but it is reverent in energy.
‘In the future, you will be dreaming in a kind of sleep. When you open your eyes, someone familiar will be there.’Text: Tom De Mette © 2010