Advanced search
De Klonter

De Klonter, 1991

Patrick Van Caeckenberg
  • Artist (1960)

Born in 1960 in Alost in Belgium, the Belgium artist Patrick Van Caeckenbergh creates a very unusual world, stemming both from the encyclopaedia and autobiography, in which the body and the artist’s familiar environment form the central point. Assemblage, collage, telescoping, accumulation and cobbling together (bricolage) are all procedures that he uses recurrently; he creates dialogue between texts and images in popular and scientific publications from the 19th century, for example, and summons characters drawn from literature, such as Flaubert’s Bouvard and Pécuchet, Valéry’s Mr. Teste, Stephan Themerson’s Cardinal Pölätüo, Dostoyevsky’s Idiot and Ali Baba. A Dadaist in his soul, and a conceptualist in the systematic conception of his work, he became an anthropologist, researcher, encyclopaedist, biologist and naturalist, and invented a world where the infinitely large and the infinitely small rub shoulders, a world which hybridizes the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms. But this knowledge, for him, is a vast system of consumption, digestion and rejection (Zodiaque, 1994). His works range from collage to sculpture by way of collecting (Le Clapier, 1999; Collection de Peaux, 1990) and video. The collage Den Kackenberg I (1990) traces the etymology of the artist’s name while De Klonter (FRAC Centre) accumulates papers beneath a glass frame. The sculpture La Tombe (1986-1988) presents six dwarfs carrying a box of coloured crayons, open like a roof. Patrick Van Caeckenbergh’s interest in architecture—he studied the history of architecture at the Advanced School in Eindhoven in 1984-1985—crops up in many works, including Le trou de souris, a sort of burrow transformed into a shelter for thinking, and Living Box, a precarious shelter actually used by the artist to live in between 1980 and 1984, an equivalent of the snail’s or tortoise’s shell, two animals which inhabit his world (La Tortue, 1990).  In his oeuvre, the Chapeau! and the Landeau are also metaphors of the extension of the body and potential dwellings equipped with everything needed to survive. Patrick Van Caeckenbergh’s internationally recognized work has been shown in solo exhibitions in France, at the Carré d’Art in Nimes in 2005 and at the Maison Rouge in 2007.

Nadine Labedade