For his exhibition at In Situ/fabienne Leclerc gallery, Patrick van Caeckenbergh displays an impressive compilation of texts and images, on the sidelines of which a sloth (one of the artist’s many animal avatars, filmed in his daily life in captivity, watches. Tangling autobiographical elements, compilations of jumbled knowledge and preposterous classifications, Patrick van Caeckenbergh patches together an enormous game of snakes and ladders without an end or center, as much through its playful and falsely methodological character as its typical iconography that crosses time. The Flemish artist’s work arouses surprise through its capacity to constantly create wonder based on an iconography that is digested, recycled and classified to infinity.
In this classification game, the artist constantly metamorphoses himself, going in turn from the role of a scholar to that of a peddler, anthropologist, therapist and patient. Taking himself as an object of study, focusing on his anxieties on his place in the world and in his relationship with others (humans, animals, plants), it is in these radical hybridizations that the artist succeeds in expressing the precarious responses to this anxiety-ridden vastness, this deafening “all”.
Patrick Van Caeckenbergh is a researcher who has slipped into the world of art. It is difficult to uncover an artistic affiliation: Dadaism for the absurd, conceptual art for the work’s organization into a system. He is the author of an art that, despite its highly personal nature, is more akin to the organization of signs in anthropology than to the figure of the Western artist, the isolated genius.
Like the encyclopedias of the classical world, his is a closed world that connects the infinitely large and the infinitely small, but a world moving on the edge between the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms, teeming with black holes more than with certainties, in which the ideal of a reflection that emanates from life and that could have the freedom of the fable and the journey is expressed.
Born in Aalst in 1960, Patrick van Caeckenbergh has lived and worked in the village of Sint-Kornelis Horebeke in Belgium for 15 years.
Major solo exhibitions have been devoted to him, notably at the Carré d’art de Nîmes (2005), the Maison Rouge (2007) and more recently at the Musée d’Art contemporain de Louvain (2012). He participates in the 55th Venice Biennale (2013) at the Arsenale group show, "Il palazzo Enciclopedico".