, in partnership with SMAK, M HKA and the Middelheimmuseum, is commemorating the fifty-year career of the Belgian artist Leo Copers. Each museum focuses on a different element from his rich oeuvre.
Leo Copers (1947, Ghent) has built up a multifaceted body of work since the late 1960s, consisting primarily of sculptures, installations and performances. The artist uses symbols and metaphors as points of departure to create surreal-looking objects. In doing so he has consciously maintained a distance from the trends within the international art scene.
SMAK shows a selection of work from Copers' early working life (1969-1974). In addition to the four natural elements air, earth, water and fire gas and (artificial) light, such as lightbulbs and fluorescent tubes, play an important role in the exhibition. In the works on display, Copers investigates ways of connecting together seemingly incompatible elements such as gas and fire, or water and electricity. The tension this creates forms a basic principle that is still part of Copers' visual language today.
The Middelheimmuseum has paid special attention to those works by Leo Copers that were not blessed with a long life: the temporary, capricious, transient works such as short-lived fireworks, enigmatic and surprising. The artist was invited to intervene at the Sokkel [Plinth] in the Stadspark. For Copers, the plinth is a base for a lost sculpture, the concept of which is inseparable from the self-portrait.
At BOZAR, Copers exhibits a series of works on paper that occupy a crucial position within his artistic trajectory. On one hand there is the GEKLEURDE MUSEA [Coloured Museums] series and on the other DUISTERE MUSEA [Dark Museums]. In the latter, drawings and paintings refer to significant exhibitions and performances that the artist has put on or intends to put on. The series are exhibited in dialogue with each other and with a design for an ONZICHTBAAR MUSEUM [Invisible Museum]; a nod to the current context of Brussels with its ongoing discussion around a modern art museum. These works are complemented by the LICHT WIT GENERATOR [Light White Generator] and sketches, designs and drawings that form the basis of many of Copers projects but rarely see the light of day, if at all.