Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Jacob's Ladder - Tempus Arti 2006

© eddy gabriel

With this ladder I was selected as one of the "laureates" of "Tempus Arti" 2006 in Landen, a small town in Belgium.
This 7 meters high sculpture was constructed as a ladder, consisting of separate, stackable elements; i.e. the capital letters "H" and "A", stacked alternately on top of each other.

Climbing it (mentally) and taking more elements, i.e. a "H" or an "A", elongating the ladder as you climb higher, your position becomes more and more unstable as you approach "a state of hybris".
One could read it as a "monument to failure".

After installing it I went to the official opening.  There I got confronted with the catalogue in which the work was described with some quotations from the bible and some more besides-the-point blabber (despite my suggested contribution) and a "romantic photograph" shot at sunset, in which the essential elements of the work, the alternation of red and white elememts, were completely lost, only showing a silhouette, making it seem like an ordinary ladder you probably have somewhere in your own shed.

Some weeks later I received an e-mail from the organizers that the ladder had been "damaged", due to the "poor construction". No further explanation whatsoever. I had this sculptture made by a professional carpenter, a man who knows his business. Anyway, disgusted by the "catalogue event", I figured it best to just forget about this "Tempus Arti" debacle and never even answered the mail.
Sometime later I met a colleague-artist who was also represented in this shambolic affair and he told me he received an unpleasant phone call from the "curator", Dirk Lambrechts, telling him to "clean up his mess". It took a while before he figured out they were refering to "The Ladder" and he could make them clear they were talking to the wrong guy.
My colleague got to know this way the reason for the collapse of the art-work; a bunch of drunken people actually tried to climb it, altough the proportions were designed so as to make this physically nearly impossible.
I never received this explanation from the organisers, possibly due to the fact that they owe me compensation, since they stated beforehand they were insured against damaging of works of art.

Hahaha! Art and laughter. Charles Baudelaire, De l’essence du rire et généralement du comique dans les art plastiques (1868)

No comments: