Peter Buggenhout

(Belgium) b.1963

Lives and works in Ghent, Belgium

Peter Buggenhout pursues a sculpture practice in which the construction of hybrid forms refers back to a powerful universe, creating the feeling of an active power vested in the object. Working with industrial and found materials, Buggenhout creates large-scale sculptural installations, which, upon first glance, appear to be abandoned structures or remnants from a disaster site. Taking as his medium what he describes as abject matter – everyday materials that have been disassociated from their original use and repurposed – Buggenhout creates looming structures, whose formal complexity and clear, predetermined, internal logic, are revealed only upon closer inspection.

Two large-scale commissioned works The Blind Leading the Blind # 63 & 64 and one earlier work The Blind Leading the Blind # 35 will be presented at TB2014. The title, which Buggenhout uses for all of his dust works, is drawn from the classic painting by Peter Brueghel the Elder, Buggenhout’s namesake. The original work depicts a group of blind men leading one another through a village. At first the scene appears chaotic – filled with groping, directionless figures – but closer inspection reveals an internal logic and process, which the men have determined as they journey from town to town. This notion of a complex system becoming clear only upon closer examination is central to Buggenhout's work.

Buggenhout creates his intricately built assemblages with the intention of undermining any semblance of symbolism that could be suggested by the form of an individual material. His interest in dust grows out of this formal logic, as he feels that dust is a material that has no meaning in and of itself, but which has the ability to change the form and meaning of things, since it is drawn from the detritus of people, objects, and places. As he says, “Materials I work with are very abject. The abject as described by Georges Bataille is a material that is withdrawn from its original state and has lost its form and meaning because of it... And this uncertainness completely wipes away the symbolic approach of the work and the material... I believe that all these different aspects and layers in the work are openings for different interpretations, but I never provide a clue. We all project what we see.”

By removing any symbolic qualities, Buggenhout focuses the visitor’s attention on the work, enabling it to be considered only within its own context. Taken together, the works create an immersive and otherworldly environment, inviting viewers to investigate the monumental forms before them.

Peter Buggenhout has been the subject of solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group shows at such notable institutions as: MOMA PS1, New York; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Art Unlimited 2013, Basel; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany; Kunstverein Hannover, Germany; Herzliya Biennial 2011, Jerusalem; Kunstraum Dornbirn, Dornbirn, Austria; De Pont Museum, Tilburg, Holland; La Maison Rouge, Paris; and the Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania.

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