Places (II.8)

Jan Vercruysse


Sculpture, 300 x 285 x 2 cm.
Materials: cor-ten steel

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK7588).

Throughout the series Places, Jan Vercruysse uses the universally recognizable symbols of playing cards to form a kind of new, associative language or script, which nonetheless appears incomprehensible. The work is not about the content itself, but about the possibility of content this 'alphabet' offers. Looking at Places (II.8), we see five steel plates, seemingly arranged according to a functional pattern; however, a closer look reveals that the panels don't match exactly and don't lend themselves for any quick interpretation. Like many of Vercruysse's other works, then, Places (II.8) is not a place of communication. With its elusive harmony, the work keeps distance from the viewer. Vercruysse juxtaposes the works of the series Places against the series Tombeaux, which he created between 1988 and 1994. While the series of Tombeaux consisted of places for memory – meaning the Tombeaux were in fact empty – Places consists of places of memory: they store something, capture something, have a core and carry meaning.

"Where the Tombeaux works were 'empty', by definition full of the faculty of memory, I feel that these new works, Places, are more conclusive – they concentrate 'meanings', 'things that happened', 'parts of lives'. They allow and support a 'fullness'. The fact that their physical appearance and presence, which will be very restricted, do not reveal at first glance and at once their content is, *of course*, a matter of art." - Jan Vercruysse

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