Leon Vranken: Stella Lohaus Gallery
Parys, Yoann Van, Artforum International
One of the chief qualities of "The Traveling Riddle," an excellent exhibition by the young Belgian sculptor Leon Vranken, was its sense of tempo. Of course, like a performance in the theater or on film, an exhibition always has a conventional temporal structure, with the installation of the work followed by an opening, then the show itself, followed by a deinstallation. But over the course of this process, who could really attest to a key moment, a precise duration, a model, a format, a definitive distribution of roles? One wanders through an exhibition at liberty, viewing the works in any order whatsoever and for as much or as little time as one cares to spend. The only constant is this expectation of freedom. And it is on precisely this uncertainty that Vranken based "The Traveling Riddle."
Visitors to the exhibition faced a narrow wooden hallway at the space's entrance. At the end of this hall, an apparently fixed wall seemed to bring the visit to an abrupt end just as one thought it was beginning. Nevertheless, a metal plate in the center of the wall suggested that one might push it or move it. Which, of course, the curious visitor was sure to do. This was the secret door through which one entered the exhibition space--and it appeared to be empty at first glance. But then one discovered that all the objects in the room were piled behind the door. These were carefully made wooden objects, resembling either small minimalist sculptures or design objects: trestles, a sphere, a chair, a beam, a skittle pin. …