“Emi e dames messeur”, Joël Riff’s fourth exhibition as curator of La Verrière, presents a sentimental encyclopaedia that is the foundation of Koenraad Dedobbeleer’s sculptural practice. For the exhibition, the artist shares some of his kitchen with us – literally. It is in this part of his home that a constellation of affinities unfolds. A memento mural is constructed as a family with analogies nourishing a shared album of images that enshrines the figures of flora and fauna. His project for La Verrière combines existing works with a host of objects from his private sphere, articulated around architectural interventions produced by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès.
The mystery of the title invites us to examine the letters before we can understand the words, allowing ourselves to savour the surprise of the elements brought together rather than trying at all costs to rationalise them as a whole. This does not hinder the enjoyment of the phrase by any means. A true game of clues unfolds, nourished by the foundations of daily life in Brussels. “Emi e dames messeur” comes from a sign seen on a street in Saint-Gilles, immediately eclipsing the linguistic pressure in force in the Belgian capital. This stuttering overturns any mechanical reading. A language is thus invented.
The exhibition repeats Koenraad Dedobbeleer’s system, revealing works that reveal. Dedobbeleer’s own display systems are thus examined in the context of the figures he presents, from neighbourly friendships to twentieth-century treasures, avant-garde photographs and other icons of domestic art. After three previous retrospectives in Brussels, the programme at La Verrière continues to cultivate exclusivity by placing it elsewhere, in the trust of an artist revealing what goes on behind the scenes of his work.
ph cover: Koenraad Dedobbeleer, The Often Ineffectual Opposition of Counterculture (detail), 2022 © Benjamin Baltus