Magazine article Artforum International

Peter Buggenhout: Gallery Maskara

Magazine article Artforum International

Peter Buggenhout: Gallery Maskara

Article excerpt

Visiting a gallery in Mumbai is generally gratifying, if for no other reason than that the air-conditioned white cube provides a welcome respite from the heat and dust of the city's that street's. But not this time. For his first show in India, "ResDerelictae II," Belgian artist Peter Buggenhout was determined that we should encounter at least one of the things we were fleeing from: dust.

Buggenhout's show, curated by Sofie Van Loo and gallery owner Abhay Maskara, comprised four large, lumpy objects, each made of waste material. Iron slag, polystyrene, polyester, and cardboard were thickly coated with the dust the artist purchased from professional cleaning companies in Belgium. These "dust sculptures" (as Buggenhout dubs them) were not specifically created for his Mumbai debut, but they were selected because of the aptness of their medium. Presenting dust as art was meant to make Mumbaikars scrutinize afresh this all-too-familiar irritant. The almost clinical setting of pristine white walls and gleaming glass formed a deliberate contrast to the grubbiness of the art and the conditions outside.

From a distance, the four sculptures looked remarkably alike--each resembling a rough-edged, brownish-gray rock. Yet the longer one wandered around the gallery, which had been turned into a sort of labyrinth by temporary white walls, the more the differences among them emerged. The two larger sculptures were placed in glass vitrines. The deep green glass and the gallery's soft lighting imbued them with an under water glow and the patina of rusty metal, momentarily suggesting the romantic tale of a shipwreck: Aren't the curved bottoms of the structures, come to think of it, something like hulls of boats?

Buggenhout has been making dust sculptures since 2003. They are all given the same name: The Blind Leading the Blind, a reference to Pieter Brueghel the Elder's painting Parable of the Blind, 1568. …

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