6630 - 20170401 - Bernier/Eliades Gallery - Brussel - Mineral Group Show - 15.01.2017-01.04.2017



The exhibit “Mineral - Vegetal”, hosted by the Bernier/Eliades Gallery gathers together a diverse body of works comprised and expressive of these elemental components of our world. These works open through our experiences of rocks, metals, branches, flowers, and roots toward a composite awareness of ourselves as bodies in a world of bodies of different kinds and materials. Sensations of weight and lightness, stillness and motion, silence and sound stir up from the bringing together of these forms.
We begin by considering how the mineral speaks to us of the weight of bodies and things. In Verde Argento, the immense weight of the block of stone suspended by a simple knot dramatizes Giovanni Anselmo’s play with the earthly, severe presence of material and the slim, strategic tether by which it may be made to appear buoyant. As an act of balance and gravity, this piece perpetually defers an imminent crash. Magic, determination, and a resourceful wit come together in this pithy, enigmatic composition. It instrumentalizes, as aphorisms or parables do, summations of human effort matched and joined to the indifferent, magnificent world of stone.
Another group of works foregrounds the presence of the mineral in its historical and social manifestations. An untitled work of a military blanket and iron, arranged by Jannis Kounellis in 2012, engages with the influence of metal explicitly through the practice of Arte Povera, by choosing materials with little economic significance that nonetheless hold immense historical, political, and affective values. This selection models the vital regard artists and appreciators of art may possess for narratives that contrast to arbitrary consumerism. The draped and fastened cloth of the blanket on this metal structure evokes violence, oppression, and despair. The layering of these textures—the relative softness of the blanket against the metal as it falls, powerless and exhausted as a body—draws us by corporeal similitude into a concentrated awareness of the dark iron frame. We may encounter here the shudder then dead stillness of force, the absence of any breathing sensation of warmth, and the nearly petrified doom initiated by those denied choice under the auspices of poverty and war. There is no promise for redemption here, no claim to the bought glories of power; there is, in fact, a material cry to the contrary. We are left to reflect on the vehement structures imposed on us, as well as on the natural resources with which we found our living.
The works in the exhibit comprised and demonstrative of the vegetal guide us to a different consideration—that of the lightness of bodies and things. Michael Buthe’s Four Seasons, 1990, blends and arranges petals, twigs, and other natural ephemerae—applied and painted when fresh—now brittle, thinned, papery. White feathers animate the circular motion of the piece. Each compositional gesture rising from the pairing of pigment and natural artefact serves as a talisman for the passage of a delicate but relentless strain of time: the time of all that lives. The colors of the four seasons rotate and blur at their borders. Without losing their own characters, these fragments give depth to the suggested movement through seasons in a landscape.
Bernier/Eliades Gallery
Rue du Châtelin 46
1050 Brussel
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