The Ghost Year is the third exhibition of Belgian artist Edith Dekyndt at the gallery. Conceived like a diary or an index of the recent past, this exhibition brings together pieces that the artist made during the first months of 2020. Intimate objects and items brought back from an erratic trip to the Baltic Coast are combined with glass structures from the installation Visitation Zone originally devised for the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art.
In Visitation Zone, Dekyndt used empty vivariums and aquariums from the Riga Zoo, and a woman performed a kind of ritual by filling these glass vitrines with small amounts of preserved fruits and vegetables pickled with the traditional Baltic food preservation method. The performer was tasked with moving the precious food items from one vitrine to another in a continuous manner. From the Zoo to the Biennial, these glass vitrines have now made their way into this diaristic exhibition. Emptied, they bare traces of food they contained, dirt from the industrial site they were displayed in for the Biennial, and marks left by the animals that used to occupy them. Trough the simple gesture of re-presenting it, this work exists like an index of itself. Concurrently, the transparent surfaces of its glass structures are themselves the site of a more tangible kind of indexicality – the accumulation of stains, dust, grime, scratches and cracks.
Throughout her work, Edith Dekyndt explores the relationship between time, location, material and affect. For the artist, The Ghost Year constitutes a place to halt and pause, a station in the ongoing process of mourning. Short cellphone videos, domestic fabric soaked in Black Chinese Ink or lingerie tissue coated with sugar are just some of the means by which she registers the transformative processes that make up the objects of life and the life of objects.
Working across video, sculpture, installation, sound and drawing, Edith Dekyndt addresses timeless concerns of time and space. Using a wide range of techniques she makes visible transient physical phenomenon and ephemeral incidents to create a conceptually rich and materially engaged visual language. In praise of what is not clean or pure, her work operates like a translation of time into material and vice versa, a study of the subtle variations in the fabric of our tangible world.
We would like to thank the VV Foundation in Pāvilosta for supporting the participation of Edith Dekyndt in RIBOCA2 (Riga International Biennal of Contemporary Art) and her installation “Visitation Zone.”
Edith Dekyndt (b. 1960, Ypres, Belgium) lives and works in Brussels and Berlin. Recent exhibitions include Visitation Zone, Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Riga, Latvia (2020); They Shoot Horses, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Germany (2019); The Black, The White, The Blue Kunsthalle Hamburg, Germany (2019); CONVEX / CONCAVE, Belgian Contemporary Art TANK, Shanghai, China 52019); Biennalsur, Biennial Internacional de Arte Contemporeana de America del Sur, Musee de la inmigracion, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2019); Luogo e Segni, Punta della dognap, Pinault collection, Venezia, Italy (2019); Viva Arte Viva, 57th edition of the Venice Biennale, Italy (2017); Ombre Indigene, Wiels, Brussels, Belgium (2016); Théoreme des Foudres, Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2015).