From 12 December 1991 to 26 January 1992
Curated by Ida Gianelli
The work of Wim Delvoye (Wervik, Belgium, 1965) is characterised by the irony with which he approaches cultural themes, appropriating images that are commonly considered to be artistic and then decontextualising them.
He thus creates a system of incongruities that produce a psychologically alienating effect, compounded by the perceptive disorientation caused by his blending of high and low culture.
The installation Delvoye conceived for the Castello comprises a wooden sculpture in the form of a cement mixer, inlaid with 100 decorative details depicting shovels painted with the coats of arms of 100 European cities. The artist’s treatment of these objects transforms them into symbolic elements. The incongruity between material and object, form and content distorts their sense, producing different levels of interpretation and unusual associations of meaning. The transformation of the shovels into coats of arms calls to mind universal concepts such as the subsuming of the individual in the interests of co-operation and the common good. A closer look at the cement mixer reveals it to be a “fictitious” object, because its inlaid decorations recall antique furniture rather than the construction work that it is more usually associated with it. The amalgam it produces also alludes to the enforced homologising of elements that were once different.