William Cobbing

The cable with which the game console is plugged into the player's lower back is very like an umbilical chord. The console takes him into another world in which the distinction between truth and fiction disappears. It is an oppressive image from the film eXistenZ by David Cronenbergh, in which people surf from one reality to the next by way of live, biomorphic computers connected directly with the body. After some time the viewer begins to distrust his perception of his own reality.

A similar experience is evoked by the work of William Cobbing (1974) installed at Z33 as part of the Over de mensen en de dingen exhibition. In this artist's surrealist world, the distance between man and the things around him threatens to disappear at any moment. You find yourself walking on quicksand. Is the ground really firm or will you soon be swallowed up by the increa-singly living mass beneath your feet? In any case William Cobbing's figures have already mutated and have become completely possessed by their material environment. The lower body of a man merges perfectly from the navel downwards with the back of his chair. In another work the torso reaches the ceiling and becomes totally absorbed by it. These are highly formal and powerful expressions of the way in which people are entwined in the materialism that surrounds us.

Or is it the other way around? In a corner, intestines protrude from one wall and form a link with the adjacent wall. Could this be a man-made material environment which leads a life of its own and tries to manipulate us people? Are we not independent creatures able to subject the world to our whims? Do we have human limitations
we are not even aware of?

In one of Cobbing's videos we see two characters whose heads are completely covered and linked together by a formless lump of clay. With their hands they attempt to shape one another even though they cannot see each other. This is an image of submersion in a life where we wish to impose our ideas or desires while disregarding the other's wel-being.

- Jurgen Gaethofs


13.02 to 01.05.2005
13.02 to 01.05.2005
13.02 to 01.05.2005
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