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Second solo exhibition of Joris Van de Moortel in Brussels opens at Galerie Nathalie Obadia
Joris Van de Moortel, Wax on rotter (Ne pas toucher) and various collectable objects some of which cast in bronze . Detail. 2015.

BRUSSELS.- The Galerie Nathalie Obadia presents the second solo exhibition of Joris Van de Moortel in Brussels.

The title of the exhibition – “It’s no longer a thing but a performance group” – sounds like a declaration by the artist and informs the public of one of the keys to understanding the protean work of this young Flemish artist, whose artistic uniqueness is drawn from the collective energy of performance.

Joris Van de Moortel is as much a visual artist as a musician. For him the transition from one to the other occurs through performance, in which live music is a crucial component of both his practice and creative logic.

An ardent admirer of German Romanticism, Joris Van de Moortel has the same desire for intense experiences and emotions as the artists of the nineteenth century. Whereas the painter Kaspar David Friedrich attempted to record on canvas the tempestuous feelings aroused in him by the immensity of the sea, Joris Van de Moortel places himself in danger during each of his performances. Improvised rather than planned, it is the risk involved that gives the artist the powerful sensations he seeks to trigger the creative process in his works.

One of his favourite “instruments” is the Cylinder, a giant tube inside which he installs the mobile stage for his performances. Since 2012, the date of its first presentation at Le Transpalette art centre in Bourges (France), this artistic and sonic UFO has not ceased to evolve, changing with every ephemeral setting that it is set up in.

Following a presentation that garnered attention at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2014, the Cylinder has recently made the walls reverberate at Villa Empain in Brussels during the group exhibition “Music Palace, The power of music seen by visual artists”.

The performance always starts with the crashing sounds of the guitars, which take Joris Van de Moorel into a sort of hypnotic trance. It is the trance that directs the acts of destruction that are then visited on the instruments, amplifiers, microphones and electric cables before the artist turns on the Cylinder itself.

The mutilated set is often spattered with indelible marks of paint or glue that become added to the other stigmata resulting from the performance.

But although everything is smashed, nothing is lost. Once he is back in the solitude of his studio, Joris Van de Moortel recycles this “debris”, which in fact provides him with the raw material of his works.

Each element owes its preservation to the cathartic charge that it contains through its role as a memory of the performance. So that this is not lost, Joris Van de Moortel confines these objects-cum-attestation inside transparent cases. He thus reproduces the chaos that brought them into being while placing careful emphasis on how they appear inside the restrictive frame of the work.

The rigour with which he treats their presentation is common to all the works displayed at the galerie Nathalie Obadia. Joris Van de Moortel achieves this with an unexpected sense of harmony, as in this composition that combines a circle and a straight line with Constructivist precision.

He is also capable of refinement, all the more so when he uses neon with the same deftness as watercolours. The “trace of electric light” escapes the limits of the work in the same way that water-paints overflow a contour.

The selection of works that Joris Van de Moortel has chosen to show at the Galerie Nathalie Obadia explores two new paths of pictorial research that may seem divergent at first glance.

The first is expressed through drawing, a technique used here for its figurative and narrative capacities.

The second runs counter to the first by establishing objects and colours within abstract compositions.

From the cases – relics of the performance – to the marks left by the performer, there is only one step, which the artist takes cheerfully. Through digression and humour, Joris Van de Moortel injects his work with a poetic and cathartic dimension that associates him with Marcel Duchamp and Marcel Broodthaers. In offering us his own version of a readymade, the Belgian artist invites us to enter his creative universe. Its innate precariousness lays bare the permanent tension that exists between the order and chaos that preside in both his plastic and musical work.

In November 2015 the BE-PART contemporary art centre in Waregem near Ghent (Belgium) will present the first institutional exhibition of the work of Joris Van de Moortel in Belgium.

Born in 1983 in Ghent, Joris Van de Moortel lives and works in Antwerp (Belgium).

Having graduated from the HISK (Higher Institute of Fine Arts, Ghent, Belgium) in 2009, and resided at the Künstelerhaus Bethanien in Berlin (Germany) in 2012 and 2013, the Belgian artist Joris Van de Moortel is at once a visual artist, performer and musician. He develops his production around the relics of his performances and elements that populate his daily existence.

In 2012 the exhibition curator Damien Sausset offered him his first solo show at Le Transpalette art centre in Bourges (France). Ever since, the artist has received growing attention, not only in Belgium, and has participated in many institutional exhibitions of international standing.

Also in 2012, Joris Van de Moortel took part in the exhibition “Exploded View” at the Central Museum in Utrecht (Netherlands).

In 2013, the year that the Galerie Nathalie Obadia presented his work in Brussels for the first time, the Museum Cultuur Strombeek Grimbergen (near Brussels, Belgium) invited the artist to take part in the group exhibition “Upside Down Part 2 Let’s Dance”, and the Künsterlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin (Germany) offered him a second solo show.

In 2014, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (France) invited Joris Van de Moortel to take part in the exhibition “Des choses en moins, des choses en plus”, asking him to create a work on site. On this occasion, he gave a performance that drew a great deal of attention called Don’t you know you’re gonna mess up the carpet.

That same year, the Fondation Boghossian (Brussels, Belgium) invited him to Villa Empain to create the monumental work Journey Through Speaker One in the exhibition “Music Palace”. The performance he gave met with as much success as the one in Paris.

For the artist, 2015 is just as busy. In April the musée Sainte-Croix in Poitiers (France) will present the acquisitions of 22 international collectors. And in the same month, the Galerie Nathalie Obadia will host his second solo exhibition in Brussels.

In May 2015 the Maison des Arts de Malakoff (France) will invite the artist to present his works as part of the exhibition “Vacarmes”, which deals with the importance of the link between music and the visual arts. In July 2015, the Künsterlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin (Germany) will open a travelling group exhibition titled “Passion, Fan Behaviour and Art”, which will feature the work of Joris Van de Moortel. It will subsequently travel to the Künsterlerhaus in Nuremberg (Germany), then the Ludwig Muzeum in Budapest (Hungary).

In November 2015, Patrick Ronse, the director of BE-PART contemporary art centre in Waregem (near Ghent, Belgium) will present the first monographic exhibition in Belgium dedicated to Joris Van de Moortel.

Joris Van de Moortel’s works can be found in public and private collections of international renown such as: Vehbi Koç Foundation (Istanbul, Turkey) / Dena Foundation For Contemporary Art (Paris, France - New-York, USA) / Centraal Museum (Utrecht, The Netherlands).

The first monograph of Joris Van de Moortel, Fieldrecordings of my own environment, was published in 2013.

The Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris/Brussels has represented Joris Van de Moortel since 2013.

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