Ignace van Ingelgom

Sociologists sometimes compare the art world with a carnival. Within the safety of the walls of a museum or arts centre, artists are permitted to turn the world upside down to their heart's content. Indeed, this inversion of norms and values restricted by time and space results, via a detour, in the confirmation of the status quo. Ignace Van Ingelgom (1954) understands this only too well.

This is why he frequently moves outside or to the very edges of the official art world with his 'message art'. In 2000 for example, he opted for the display window - and not the interior - of the Kunst-Zicht gallery to exhibit his work. On a large panel behind the window he painted the age, 'Probably the best painter in the world', in a neutral font; a sly reference to the advertising slogan of a well-known brand of beer. Moreover, while painting it he wore a T-shirt bearing his name in the style of a company logo, and the words 'since 1954'.

In his work Van Ingelgom often uses strategies and techniques from the advertising world - a field with which he is professionally familiar. As an artistic late-developer he soon learned that a painter is also largely dependent on the proper media attention. A clever career-planning is evidently just as important as the content and quality of your work. Indeed Van Ingelgom has made this fact one of the basic principles of his artistic practice. With a mixture of self-mockery and shameless self-promotion, he presents himself in life-size photos on cardboard as commonly used in advertising displays. Impeccably dressed in a tuxedo à la James Bond, it depicts him holding a vacuum cleaner or other object, while a cardboard colleague bursts out laughing while reading the rather serious art magazine De Witte Raaf. Indeed, since 2001 Van Ingelgom has regularly published anonymous messages in this magazine, always in neutral white letters against a black background. Most of them are seeming- only trite slogans that acquire quite a different meaning in the context of the art magazine.

For the Onder kunstenaars en organisaties exhibition Van Ingelgom entered into a dialogue with work by the German artist Johannes Kahrs. Against the latter's small, peculiar photo collages of naked body parts, Van Ingelgom placed an almost wall-size painting bearing the following laconic message: 'Heykes Johannes! my nickname is Peeping Tom!' This was a reference to the superficial world of the chatbox as well as to the cult film Peeping Tom and the voyeurism we indulge in when we look at Kahrs' collages.

- Peter Pollers


13.02 to 01.05.2005
13.02 to 01.05.2005
13.02 to 01.05.2005
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