Wim Wauman Enters the Victoria and Albert Museum
Roberto Polo Gallery proudly announces that two photographs, four drawings and two collages by Wim Wauman, from his most recent project False Friends, have entered the legendary collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The photographs, Pirouette (Total Eclipse) and Cultus, are archival pigment prints on fine art paper mounted on DBond; the four drawings are pencil on paper; one collage is in paper and the other in veneer.
Wim Wauman is a Belgian photographer. Graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, and laureate of the Higher Institute of Fine Arts in the city, he has actively exhibited for virtually ten years. After participating in the group show Spread in Prato in Italy (2002), he exhibited his work Tourists In Mallorca (1998) alongside paintings by Gauguin, Léger, Monet and Turner at the inaugural exhibition Happiness: A Survival Guide for Art and Life (2003) of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. Wim Wauman participated in the 4th International Biennial of Photography and Visual Arts of Liège in 2004, and in 2010, at the festival Sugary Photographs with Tricks, Poses & Effects in Antwerp. His solo exhibition Wim Wauman I False Friends is on view at Roberto Polo Gallery in Brussels.
Since 2007, Wim Wauman's pratice has focused on several studio projects consisting of still lifes created from compositions of objects and collages. The artist is engaged in a subtle visual game that disturbs normal cognitive perception and the usual vision of things. Each of his works absorbs our gaze in a fascinating effort of concentration – in the manner of a chess game – exuding surprising and ludicrous images that are both graphic and deeply pictorial. Beyond the aspects of gaming and aesthetic pleasure, it is work created by meticulous and careful composition, a vision of a complex world transfigured by Wim Wauman, thus propelling us to the frontiers of the strange and unreal. His fascination for line and object led him to collect 'inspirational objects' from 150 artists, many famous, since his project Paraphernalia: for example, Polly Apfelbaum, Dirk Braeckman, Julie Cockburn, Richard Deacon, Jan Fabre, Karin Hanssen, Hans Op de Beeck, Nedko Solakov, Zin Taylor, Koen van den Broek, Jan Vanriet and Bernhard Willhelm.
False Friends, consists of two series of images that are, in fact, transcriptions of one another. The artist first draws shapes and geometric lines that he subsequently transcribes into high relief assemblages made of wood veneers. Photographed in direct light to cast shadows on the surfaces, the series of images Veneers was transformed into three-dimensional stage sets for a new series of still lifes: Compositions. Or vice versa: by reversing the process, we may speak of 'falsifications'.
Wim Wauman invites the viewer to participate in a complex visual and intellectual game that engages him in active interaction. In his previous project, Paraphernalia, the artist created a complex miniature diorama with wood assemblage backgrounds, where he staged objects, as if these were actors, imbuing them with unexpected meanings. In False Friends, Wim Wauman sometimes chooses to exit the actors from the stage, thus allowing the background architecture to speak for itself. The process denudes to the essential in order to intensify the abstract narrative essence of the work. Through a series of transitions between photography and complimentary media – drawing, collage and sculpture – Wim Wauman is able to evolve his work, revealing tangible and conceptual transformations. The artist covers his own perceptual tracks by refining the various stages of his preparatory wood craftsmanship, which is crucial for the outcome of the final photographic product.
The title False Friends refers to linguistic confusion: two words that look and sound similarly, but because they are from two different languages, have different meanings. Just like some words from one language to another can be inter-changed, the phases of Wim Wauman's creative process also can, thus giving birth to ambiguity. It is an allusion to intentional anomalies that contribute to the enigmatic aspects of his universe. Wim Wauman likes to play with language: he titles his works on the basis of the etymology of words and sometimes offers us a mysterious formula, an enigma, a riddle, an index by which to decipher his choice to bring together certain objects in the manner of a family portrait or of a group of friends.
The Victoria and Albert Museum is one of the world's largest museums, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million works of art. It was founded in 1852, and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Victoria and Albert Museum is located in the Brompton district of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in an area that has become known as 'Albertopolis', due to its association with Prince Albert, the Albert Memorial and the major cultural institutions with which he was associated. These include the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Royal Albert Hall. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Like other national British museums, entrance to the museum has been free since 2001.
Extended on over 12.5 acres (51,000 m2) and throughout 145 galleries, the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum span 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. Its holdings of ceramics, glass, textiles, costumes, silver, ironwork, jewellery, furniture, medieval objects, sculpture, prints and printmaking, drawings and photographs are among the largest and most comprehensive in the world. The museum owns the world's largest collection of post-classical sculpture. Its collections of Italian Renaissance works of art being the largest outside of Italy. The departments of Asia include art from South Asia, China, Japan, Korea and the Islamic world. The East Asian collections are among the best in Europe, with particular strengths in ceramic and metalwork, while the Islamic collection is amongst the largest in the Western world.