As Long As it is Striven After, it Goes on Expanding is both an artwork and the title of Belgian artist Koenraad Dedobbeleer’s exhibition. Mimicking the structure of a proverb, and sounding somewhat didactic or pseudo-wise, Dedobbeleer’s title opens up the humorous world of a practice in which sculptures, titles, found words, architectural elements, and other objects subvert the usual professional, institutional, and functional hierarchies with an untraceable lightness of touch.
As Long As it is Striven After, it Goes on Expanding has been conceived for the particular architectural features of the extraordinary modernist CAC building (built in 1967), and specifically those of its almost 1000 square-metre Great Hall. The exhibition includes work made in 2019, with many elements produced especially for the exhibition in Vilnius. Made for a particular space and point in time – ahead of the building and exhibition spaces’ imminent renovation – it evokes questions about the historical layers of the building’s design as well as the changing cultures of exhibition curating and display. As part of this enquiry, Dedobbeleer has uncovered a large piece of the original concrete terrazzo floor from the 1980s; incorporated the CAC’s longstanding exhibiting boards; and has revived a forgotten lighting system discovered in the CAC’s archive of exhibition photos from the 1990s. The exhibition also features further explorations into some of the enduring themes of the artist’s practice – art historiographies and displays as well as their political connotations. Dedobbeleer comments upon these through his surreal, semi-functional objects, architectural interventions, as well as his curatorial, publishing and teaching work.
Working in the experimental field of sculpture and design, Dedobbeleer is masterfully employing traditional materials and technologies, though his work may often look very different to traditional sculpture. Objects such as a peculiarly designed lamp, a hole in the wall, a huge vase, or a DIY heater may at first glance be difficult to distinguish from an everyday object or piece of exhibition architecture. A worn sock might be positioned beside a fully functioning high-tech heating system, while precisely printed silkscreen works are exhibited next to a sweet wrapper or drawing by the artist’s young daughter. Sampling from different fields and the everyday, Dedobbeleer collapses the diversity of life into a single exhibition space.
Koenraad Dedobbeleer (born in Halle, Belgium in 1975, lives and works in Brussels) is a conceptual artist, designer and curator whose practice is embedded in discourses of decolonialisation, rewriting established historiographies and rethinking the hierarchies of time and space. He has held solo shows at Winterthur Museum (2019), WIELS Centre for Contemporary Art in Brussels (2018), De Vleeshal, Middelburg, Le Crédac, Ivry-Sur-Seine (2013), Kunstmuseum St. Gallen (2012), Culturgest, Lisbon (2010), Haus Esters, Krefeld (2009), and Kunsthalle Bern (2008). Dedobbeleer’s work has featured in the Liverpool Biennial (2016), Reina Sofiá National Museum, Madrid (2016), Biennial in Brno (2014) and Porto Alegre (2013), Centre Pompidou (2017), Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris (2016), Kunsthalle Wien (2014), Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen (2012), Casino Luxembourg (2011), SMAK Ghent (2010). Since 2006 he has been publishing UP, a fanzine focusing on interesting architectures, together with architect Kris Kimpe.