Visual artist and all-round musician Joris Van de Moortel has drawn inspiration from the formal excesses of the baroque period for his solo exhibition Cachivache Bugui Bugui.
During his performance in BOZAR’s horta hall, he gives voice to wax, glass, smoke, nature, white paint, fire and vandalism – the seven sacraments of the artist – together with fourteen musicians of the Belgian National Orchestra.
The sound of a tolling bell reverberates through Van de Moortel’s art chapel. The sound bubbles up from a sculpted gong and resonates through the speakers in a structure resembling a baroque altar. Lying in it are lifeless performers, or rather what is left of them. The only source of life emanates from their iPod touch on which rustling videos of former performances are played in a loop to the rhythm of the gongs’ stroke.
It’s like suddenly finding yourself in the off limits part of a church. Hanging all around are twelve monotypes like a black and white Stations of the Cross. Inspired by figures in adoration of Maria painted by Theodoor van Loon, the artist drew the face of the female worshippers as well as their hands which are then embodied through collages. In so doing he puts the emphasis on the carnal in the visual language of the baroque in which Van Loon was so much at home, as was his contemporary Rubens.
The large work at the back, Auch Mit den Groupies (ter hemel), was inspired by Van Loon’s The Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The solid wood frame measuring two metres by four combines the Dionysian – uncontrolled, restless, ecstatic rapture – with the Apollonian – the controlled, deliberate and calculated.
The solo show is interwoven with the new piece of music for seven ‘Apollonian’ string players and seven ‘Dionysian’ players of wind instruments composed by Van de Moortel in collaboration with Thomas De Prins. This new composition is based on his series of performances A Sunday Mess, The 7 Sacraments for a Performance.
On October 19th 2018 Van de Moortel will join with his guitar the 14 musicians from the Belgian National Orchestra to stage the seven sacraments – wax, glass, smoke, nature, white paint, fire and vandalism - snapping strings, braking glass and boiling wax included. Van de Moortel’s new composition in true Fluxus and musique concrète style is pure baroque. The artist is referencing the French composer Pierre Schaeffer (°1910-1995), a pioneer of musique concrète, who in one of his last interviews said that his life-long search for a new form of music had totally failed and that composers should look to the baroque period as a model and synthesis for new technical and musical developments.
In the frame of the 2018 Baroque Year and the exhibition Theodoor van Loon. A Caravaggist between Rome and Brussels.
The second part of the Songs of the Incomplete series will appear in parallel with the exhibition, along with a vinyl of the original recordings of the performance A Sunday Mess.