The first solo exhibition at Valerie Traan Gallery presents the practice of Gijs Van Vaerenbergh through a variety of objects. In addition to showcasing representations of their existing projects in the outside world, the exhibition includes sculptural objects relating to the duo’s material explorations.
The exhibition is organised into distinct ‘sections’; spaces in which the scale models representing larger works engage in a dialogue with autonomous sculptures. As an example, one wall features a vertical display of the labyrinth at C-Mine, placed in contrast with two intersecting ellipses entitled Ellipse Intersect. The two ellipses are cut out of steel plates and resemble the inverse of one of the geometric voids that are cut out of the labyrinth. These dialogues between large-scale works and smaller explorations demonstrate how identical materials and form take on distinct functions across various scales and settings.
Situated between the architectural elements and the sculptural objects, there are carefully positioned plinths. Models such as Reading between the Lines or Model House are displayed on custom-designed pedestals. Three new works, in particular, play with the typology of the plinth. One of these works is both plinth and sculpture: it is conceived as a classical plinth in concrete, from which a spherical fragment has been removed and subsequently positioned atop the plinth. The cut-out not only represents a formal alteration of the archetypical pedestal, but also exposes the granular texture within the concrete, thereby explicitly revealing the ‘interior’ of a socle.
The exhibition reveals how sculptural operations like cut-outs and material explorations, such as those involving reinforcing bars, establish connections between a range of works, spanning from architectural in scale to smaller sculptural works. Additionally, it underscores the imaginative capacity of the architectural discipline, exemplified by various unrealized and self-initiated projects that exist solely in the form of scale models.
Gallery Valerie Traan, Antwerp (BE)