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Edith Dekyndt's raw material is as impalpable as light, the wind, magnetic waves or cold. For some years now the artist has been making works which, as she puts it, are "neither spectacular nor consumable". Challenging the world of facts, science and experience, she subjects her surroundings to a highly personal approach she calls a "universal search for subjectivity": our immediate perception of the objects she proposes is called into doubt by the paradoxical simplicity of the natural phenomena she has recorded. This in turn leads to an implicit critique of scientific objectivity and the suggestion that art is a field of knowledge in its own right. In 2009 Dekyndt presented her exhibition "Agnosia" at the Witte de With art centre in Rotterdam; agnosia itself is a pathology that prevents mental identification of odours, images and sounds, but in a broader sense the term refers to the loss of knowledge, to a form of non-knowing: in order to address Dekyndt's work, based as it is on (almost) invisible phenomena, the viewer must be ready to jettison his rational preconceptions.
At the Synagogue de Delme she is offering the new video installation La Femme de Loth ("Lot's Wife"), a response to the caroming, multi-faceted architecture of a venue as distinctive in its shape and geometry as in such more evanescent qualities as sound and light. Here, under her artist's gaze, the depths of the Dead Sea are transformed into an abstract submarine landscape.
The physical properties of this lake make it a remarkable subject for observation: a floating, gravity-free environment whose salt content renders any form of life impossible. Dekyndt films its void, discerning in spite of a supposed total absentness an infinite wealth of movement and colour occasioned by variations in the light.
The exhibition also includes two other videos from the same source. The first, Dead Sea Drawings, focuses on the surface of the water, which the artist has overlaid with a sheet of white paper. The shadow of the mineral matter on the surface creates a random drawing, a kind of infinitely varied series of arabesques. Eternal Landscape is the near-motionless topography of the edge of the Dead Sea. Filming from Jordan, the camera leads the eye towards the West Bank, where the distant cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem stand as reminders that thousands of years of history - several religions and, today, three different political entities - permeate these waters and their shores.
The exhibition's title evokes a passage from the Book of Genesis in which the patriarch Lot and his family are fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah as the cities are being destroyed. Looking back in defiance of the orders of their guiding angel, Lot's wife is immediately transformed into a pillar of salt: the salt that is everywhere in this exhibition, that generates a series of drawings as it digs into the paper, deforming and damaging it.
Edith Dekyndt was born in 1960 in Ieper, Belgium. She lives and works in Doornik, Belgium.
She is represented by the VidalCuglietta Gallery, Brussels, and the Karin Günther Gallery, Hamburg.
SOLO EXHIBITIONS (SELECTION)
Dieu rend visite à Newton, Fri-Art, Freibourg, Switzerland
Get Out Of My Cloud, Kiosk, Gent, Belgium
Les ondes de Love, Mac’s, Grand Hornu, Belgium
Agnosia, Witte de With, Rotterdam, Netherlands
One second of Silence, Parker’s Box Gallery, Brooklyn, USA
Present Perfect, Galerie Les filles du calvaire, Brussells, Belgium
GROUP EXHIBITIONS (SELECTION)
Into The Light, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium
On Line. Drawing Transforming through the 20th Century, Moma – Museum of Modern
Art, New York, USA
Territoire(s), FRAC Réunion, Reunion Island
Art Belge Contemporain, Le Fresnoy Centre national d’art contemporain, Roubaix, France
The Moon is an Arrant, The David Robert Foundation, London, United Kingdom
Before Present, Centre d’Art Contemporain Villa du Parc, Annemasse, France
À l’ombre d’un doute, FRAC Lorraine, Metz, France
Drawing Time, Galerie Poirel, Nancy, France
Make the Most of Now, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, Austria
Composite Visions, CAN, Neuchatel, Switzerland
Faux-Jumeaux, S.M.A.K., Gent, Belgium
Political/ Minimal, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Deustchland
(A)pesanteur, récit sans gravité, FRAC Lorraine, Metz, France
Edith Dekyndt, I Remember Earth, Editions Facteur Humain, 2009
Les ondes de Love - Edith Dekyndt, Catalogue of the exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Grand-Hornu, 2009