SWOP (BG NL vs LTTL NL) , 2023, Oil and glitter on canvas, 200 x 160 cm
Opening: Thursday 28 September, 6-9 p.m.
Eleni Koroneou Gallery is pleased to present the second solo show of the Belgian artist Nel Aerts, titled GUT FORCE EFFECT, a provocative exploration of artistic identity and creation.
Stepping into the enigmatic world of Nel Aerts, the boundaries between reality and fiction blur. The artist deftly navigates the delicate balance between the person and the artist, echoing the sentiments of Kathy Acker: “I have to write as fiction then I can say what I actually want to say.” In Aerts’ case, she doesn’t write, she paints and she creates assemblages and collages of uncanny characters and figures as a means to explore the complex interplay between the self and the artistic expression. In the process of making a work, vulnerability, destruction, repetition, addition and reduction are in constant loop. Aerts is both the reason and the cause for the work. It derives from a certain urgency, a necessity and a gut feeling with the risk of it being delusional. And at the same time Aerts’ work is very physical and tangible, it’s a continuous play with a plethora of materials from fabrics and textiles to cardboards and artist made frames, forcefully combined with different techniques.
Entering the gallery the viewer is confronted with the work MUZZLED, a human sized self-portrait of the artist bended on her knees, pants down, while being surrounded by fingers pointing at her. Further, masked one-eyed creatures dominate the exhibition. Those lonely characters either standing or floating demand eye contact. The eye, thus the gaze as a form of expression, observation, communication, transfer of sexual energies and confrontation becomes the carrier of different moods, all reflected in the works of the show.
Nel Aerts' work is an exploration of the dualities that define artistic existence - the constant tension between one's authentic self and the persona created through art. These dualities are more obvious in the works Amalgamation and SWOP (BG NL vs LTTL NL), where the self and the persona are separated from each other, could it be the little vs the big self, the ego vs the superego, the child vs the mother.
Nel Aerts (1987, Turnhout, BE) is working in different media as painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, film and performance. She has had solo and duo shows at Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster; Kunsthalle Lingen; Museum M, Leuven; Eleni Koroneou Gallery, Athens; Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles & Brussels; Plus-One Gallery, Antwerp; Kunsthalle Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; Carl Freedman Gallery, London and Margate; Galleri SPECTA, Copenhagen; Horizont Gallery, Budapest; and KIOSK, Ghent. Her work was also shown in group exhibitions such as Unreadiness, Roger Raveel Museum, Zulte, Belgium; In Vitro, MuHKA Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp; Europe, Europe (curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Thomas Boutoux and Gunnar B. Kvaran) at Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; Season of the Which at Castillo/Corrales, Paris; Salon der Angst (curated by Nicolaus Schafhausen & Cathérine Hug) at Kunsthalle, Vienna; Un-Scene II (curated by Elena Filipovic & Anne-Claire Schmitz) at WIELS, Brussels; De Vierkantigste Rechthoek (curated by Tom Barman) at Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort; MOTinternational, Brussels; Gladstone Gallery, Brussels; and Kunsthalle Charlottenborg, Copenhagen.