We arrived in Mechelen to see Popel Coumou’s exhibit at the Cultural Museum of Mechelen, we were swept away by the charm of the city and the tone it set from the central market (proudly featuring iconic female figures that build the foundation of the moral of the city) to a contemporary and great drawing show we saw at De Garage (i.e. Caroline Coolen, Tom Liekens and Arpais Du Bois to name the highlights). We finally set our sights on the Museum and it did not disappoint! The classical architecture with soaring ceilings and dimmed skylights, gave a great white glow to the space. The works were hovering within the room and once you received the full impression you could settle and investigate the individual works, however you constantly found yourself stepping away and back into to them as the distance gave a whole new sense of the work and your experience with it. The exhibit gives an overall view of Popel’s work from about 10 years, and I loved that there was a clay model (a first in person sighting for me!) on a ‘presentation’ table along with her extensive publication history and two other maquettes. It gave a tactility to the work and reminded me of the physical labor that was involved in creating each one. It surprisingly didn’t make you pull apart the art works or make it feel like you discovered the secret ‘ingredient,’ but rather showed it as a component that could be appreciated and gave depth to the concept as a whole
Seeing the spectrum of works in person and along side another at intended size is always a treat, and really shows that nothing replaces a physical presence of you in front of them. As each art work informed one another, I was struck with the affinity to drawing. Some earlier works harbored a literal relation to graphite, but even the newest abstractions showed an affinity to the line. Either its physicality and ‘using’ its flatness to show the surface while at the same time introducing perspective and visual depth. It was all these undertones that strengthen and make the work so luscious, surpassing the limitation that may be set by one of the mediums. In all I was just in awe of Popel’s commitment and ability to push her visual language, and will take away with me that limitations are a motivation.
on view till zondag 21 augustus 2016
Fall Solo Exhibit at LMAKgallery coming October 21, 2016 – November 23, 2016