Beware of Intoxicating Art

Contemporary art recycles much of today's consciousness of art and the world. The processual art inhales artistic practices and, connecting, the social networks which artists take part in as social beings. It exhales these synthesised experiences in personalised and culturally appropriated ways. But such life-to-life art hasn't quite met its match in Luxembourg.

Space for innovative and unsettling practices in art has not been mushrooming in the Luxembourgian climate as, often, it is art with no guarantee of beauty appeal. Came Armand Hein and unravelled untrodden space in Luxembourg. Not unlike much of contemporary art abroad, the novel gallery Toxic New Art (TNA) travels light in material content, leaving sufficient space for the contamination by works of art.

The new art is cunning art with a sinful mix of media and ingenious perspectives beyond the pictorial leading us viewers to new unorthodox shores.

The first two TNA exhibitions so far have combined various media and material. Koen Theys continues - incidentally - another round of mixed-media exhibition. A selection of his work is cast as photography and sculpture, including moulding. The latter are made of polyurethane and latex rubber moulded on his personal use: functional devices like speakers, or ash trays, cups and calculators belonging at his home table, last but surely not least, his body. Flat i.e. two-dimensional sculptures made of sandblasted glass and shots of roofs or of the artist in multiple version are decorating the two gallery floors.

The Magritte principle could also qualify most of Koen Theys's art, 'This is not (a) ... ' to be completed with 'balcony'/'door'/'window'/'me'. At the same time, the transparency of some of his sculptures means to integrate viewers into the picture of the work. Theys produces but prototype objects of today. He moulds art on reality but robs the objects of their contextual function. We recognise them by connotation, by shape. Their artistic material highlights the plasticity of our immediate environment.

Theys's works are salient against the background of the clear gallery space. The distinct cleanliness of the gallery only fuels another approach to conventional aesthetics. An artist like Theys takes his stuff from life. But that immediacy is a short cut 'risking' to bypass pleasant outfit. The public in Luxembourg will have to revise their conventional criteria in order to appreciate contemporary artists. It goes without saying that artists at Toxic New Art will be sharp and to the point.

sep 1995