Pocket Room has recently opened in Antwerp. Why new galleries continue to open, while the local art market continues to shrink, is anyone’s guess. Maybe it’s the image of success postulated by the other new galleries that spur them on. Let’s hope it’s the pure love of art that has inspired Pocket Room to open their doors. To kick start this new gallery, they have turned to an elder statesman of the Antwerp art scene, Guy Rombouts.
Over the last 20 years, as one part of the artist team Rombouts/Droste, he has developed a visually-based alphabet, based on squiggles and color. He recently developed this into a fun Web site entitled “AZART“. This exhibition marks a turn to a more traditional sculpture making practice. Using odds and ends found around the house, it recalls the work of the Belgian artist Rene Hayvaert. The combining of two objects into one sculpture appeared in Belgium in the mid 90’s with the work of Dutch artist Jan Vos.
With his insistence on not gluing, welding, or nailing, Rombouts seeks to leave room for the possibility of life within the sculpture, rather than locking it into a lifeless position. Although this stance does require some balancing, pinching, and clamping, it makes it all the more important that Rombouts is able to find the proper fit for the disparate objects. Works on view include a hammer fitted with a rolled up piece of paper for a handle, cribs turned into cages, and a cane made into a chair. In one of the most poignant works, three table clamps squeeze each other in position, allowing the sculpture to reach for the sky. This piece works as a metaphor for what the Antwerp art world could be. Here each part supports the other, allowing for unlimited potential.
Guy Rombouts at Pocket Room, February 17-April 5th.