Guillaume Bijl (°1946, Antwerp) is known for his large-scale installations and visual realism. Since the late 70s, Bijl created realistic decors using found objects. In doing this, he had a pioneering role in the resurgence of the ready-made. Bijl shows the audience various aspects of our western ‘civilisation’ and consumer society. Using extreme stereotypes, he creates a sort of ‘archeology of our time’ in a tragi-comedic, alienating way.
On the occasion of his new solo show at Lumen Travo Gallery, Bijl presents his recent sorry's and compositions.
Compositions, mostly called 'Composition Trouvée', are fragments from reality, objects that seem to have been taken from antiquaries or gift shops. These often kitschy-looking works are smaller in scale and always thoughtfully put together.
The term 'Composition Trouvée' alludes to the existing ‘Object Trouvée’, in the sense that each of these is a consciously compiled and recognizable composition. Whereas Marcel Duchamp proclaimed single objects to be ready-mades, Bijl has promoted entire environments to this status.
This ostensibly exact reconstruction of a slice of life as work of art sheds a light on the exterior appearance of our actions, their superficiality and uselessness: they help us realize that in life, our environment and its stereotypical spatial organization constantly condition us to become ‘consumer beings’.
His Sorry works can take on different forms. They are bizarre still life, installations with an absurd element to them, making them fall out of reality, into the surreal.
To quote the artist: “The word ‘sorry’ is a prototypical, cool word of this age. When, in 1987, I started compiling a number of absurd assemblages of existing objects, and thus made an abstraction, I was ‘being unfaithful’ to my own realistic form. As a result, I called those little works ‘sorries’.”
In his artistic practice, Bijl can be considered something of an anthropologist who, for once, does not research into the life of exotic overseas cultures, but, instead, operates between Antwerp and New York, Amsterdam and Paris, observing and mimicking our very Western and very contemporary existences.
Guillaume Bijl had major solo exhibitions and took part in numerous group shows including the Paris Biennial (1982), SMAK, Gent, (1984), Kunsthalle Bern (1986), Belgian Pavillion - Venice Biennial (1988), New Museum, New York (1989), Documenta 9, Kassel (1992), Sydney Biennal (1992), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2000), Skulptur Projekte, Münster (2007), 11th Lyon Biennial (2011), Istanbul Biennial (2013), Busan Biennal (2006) and Manifesta 11, Zürich (2016). Recently he took part in following projects: Beaufort (2018), Play, Kortrijk (2018), Félicien Rops Museum, Namur (2018), Power to the People, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2018), the Bruegel Year, Dilbeek (2019.), Musée d’art Contemporain, St Etienne, 2021.
Guillaume is represented now by Galleries like Nicolai Wallner Gallery, Copenhagen, Nagel-Draxler Gallery, Berlin, Lumen Travo, Amsterdam, Keteleer Gallery, Antwerp, H. Winter Gallery, Vienna Mulier-Mulier Gallery / Knokke, Vienna, Zero Galleria, Milaan, Meredith Rosen Gallery, New York.
Special opening times for the Amsterdam Art Week
SPECIAL OPENING TIMES
Thursday 12 May, 17:00 – 21:00
Friday 13 and Saturday 14 May, 12:00 – 18:00
Sunday 15 May, 12:00 – 17:00