In his presentation Freek Wambacq draws connections between Eadweard Muybridge, Marcel Broodthaers, cinematic sound effects, and the Polynesian hula dance. His point of departure was a work by Marcel Broodthaers, shown at Witte de With as part of Still: A Novel (1996), an exhibition about the origins of cinema and photography and their influence on the visual arts, curated by Chris Dercon. The drawings Cheval au galop, Cheval au galop avant Muybridge, and Cheval au galop après Muybridge (1973-74, see below) make up a triptych in which Broodthaers recognizes and reproduces the impact of Muybridge’s photographic studies of a running horse. These studies brought to light the fact that the human eye only sees the resultant of a series of movements. Thus, his photographs show more than the eye can see and as such enlarge our perception of the world.

Freek Wambacq often alludes to the reality beyond the image. In his assemblages, which occur throughout his oeuvre, he gathers domestic objects or industrial materials based on their use in the production of cinematic sound effects or Foley. Within the controlled Foley sound studio environment a pile of gloves becomes a flock of birds, a battery-driven sex toy becomes an earthquake, moist antelope skins become paintbrushes, celery a breaking bone. Wambacq creates images from which imperceptible matter, radically differing from the material reality, come forth as ideas. When scrunched cellophane wrapping evokes a wood fire, our real life experience of fire is questioned; a paradoxical statement that relativizes our perception.

A galloping horse, represented by coconut shells, has previously been translated by Wambacq into an autonomous sculpture (Galloping horse, 2008), a still life on a table with a pile of gloves and cellophane (Twelve birds, five horses and a small fire, 2009) and an installation where a cardboard box filled with coconuts tested the limits of a bar in Antwerp (Herd of horses, 2013). For In Light Of 25 Years Wambacq connects the coconuts to four drawings he made of a hula dancer, making the horses on the tables dance.

In Light Of 25 Years

Presented as part of In Light Of 25 Years, this project celebrates Witte de With’s 25th anniversary. For In Light Of 25 Years, ten artists and curators each create an image-based work that analyzes certain sediments of contemporary art history, departing from Witte de With’s archive.