ESSAYS, INTERVIEWS & REVIEWS
Dries Van Laethem - 2018 - A Fencing Flâneur [EN, essay],
A fencing flâneur
A few words about the work of Dries Van Laethem
Dries Van Laethem (°1996) lets sculptures come to him. With the patience of a spider, he organizes points of convergence for their components, which become entangled before they realize it.
A used metal rack curls up like an insect and in that position is held together by a barely visible steel cable.
Van Laethem likes the sort of quick-fix solutions he stumbles upon in the streetscape, finding innovative and improper uses for materials and techniques. He is a full-blooded bricoleur, in the sense attached to this concept by Claude Lévi-Strauss, i.e. he collects objects and materials in the hope of one day being able to use them for a purpose they were not originally intended for.
At the same time we have a strange lightness, transparency and elegance: the resulting sculptures are not awkward, overworked, unwieldy or thumbed. There is something clean-cut about them, something dance-like and something amusing. They remind us that humour and poetry make tears in the curtain of projected images that protects us from the chaotic, threatening reality, while also holding us captive by hiding from us the unbridled possibilities of that same reality.
Van Laethem makes epigrams which call to mind Baudelaire’s fencing flâneurs, his gentlemen strollers of city streets. They are the fruits of refined pranks. Begetters of breathing space. Contrapuntal balancing acts. Sculptures…
Montagne de Miel, June 22nd 2018