The Musée d’Ixelles of the city of Brussels will host from February 21 to May 26 an exhibition of the Belgian artist Vincent Solheid, titled Confessions Publiques. 2013.
The young artist exhibits on this occasion at the Musée d’Ixelles after having won the Audience Award at the POP-UP exhibition, which opened last summer in the center, for his work Les premiers seront les deniers, a work that also exposed in this exhibition and summarizes in itself the essence of the works selected for this project: Located in a small display case we received upon entering the room, a small squad of toy cyclists with colorful shirts seems to move wildly on a career while raising a cyclist takes advantage, rising his arms in a victory act as if he had reached the finish line. Looking more closely at winner, we see he is not wearing shirt, that has a blood line and load side with a crown of thorns on his head, and that he is in fact Christ in the crucified position, pedaling on a bicycle. With this image, Solheid reflects through small plastic figures, his deepest impressions on religion and the spectacle that resides in it, the tradition that moves the masses and their personal experiences with religion through the years.
As he says, Solheid was born into a deeply Catholic family and although currently is a declared agnostic, on numerous occasions through his work he appropriates and plays endorsing the symbols of Christian idiosyncrasy, until they become parodies modifying or eliminating the tragic burden of the images. This time, the artist surprises us with a series of works related to Christianity and pagan rites, particularly around a recent investigation carried out in relation to two Belgian abbeys and carnival procession between both promoted by a strange priest.
The exhibition is divided into two rooms, welcoming us in the first one a huge chariot procession consisting of a red confessional, a wooden platform with wheels on the back holding a large metal armor and this, in turn, wings assembled from different materials. All of this is adorned with small figurines of dolls (animals dismembered, decapitated barbies, religious images metamorphosed, cigarette butts …) and a large number of stockings hanging from the wings, as well as rosaries and crucifixes, or a drum and an image of Christ on the top of the confessional.
This strange artifact formed by pieces of very different times, according to the artist, refers to a real car (the carrelique or “damn car”) employed in a carnival procession around 1759 between the abbeys of Stavelot and Malédy and to which belong some of the parts used. The artist recovers among the works in the exhibition a series of texts that speak of the legend and the existence of a monk, Ewald Loïd Delhey, which would have been the instigator of the pagan procession that would make what the artist envisions as an processionary orgy of the eighteenth century.
Thus, confusing the sacred and profane, in the second room we find at our feet and crossing the room, a macabre procession of dolls escorted by the side of a row of soldiers in green and yellow tones who point their guns at them as if trying to avoid a stealthy getaway, “forcing” the supposed faithful to follow the procession led by a sinister virgin. Among the delegation we find from zoo animals to plastic insects, race cars or dancing skeletons, giving both an absurd and sinister characteristic to the singular entourage.
The artist seeks to delve into the wound of the occult of religion-that pass through the sculpture, painting, photography and drawing, and in his works we see reflected the tragedy of Christianity in the Passion with the comical of modifying through the interference a of fluorescent color Christ with for a smilely coming down from the cross. In this folk tale the real mixes with the anecdotal or imagined by the artist himself and objects are mixed equally on display. A scapular of the eighteenth century that was used in the procession, hosts stained with red ink, glitter covered crucifixes or a series of sculptures of saints metamorphosed we discover an artist without comparison, that speaks his mind, that exposes the most kitsch things of religion raised to the nth power and seems to call for redemption for mankind, always with a touch of sarcasm.