Peter Buggenhout. It's a strange, strange world Sally

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Peter Buggenhout ‘It’s a strange, strange world, Sally’

‘It’s a strange, strange world, Sally’ *

Recent sculptures and installations by Peter Buggenhout

*. Published by Lannoo

Peter Buggenhout *


‘It’s a strange, strange world, Sally’ *



∞ †

*. ‘It’s a strange world isn’t it, Sandy? Yeah…’ was the leitmotif of Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986). When creating this book – and giving it a title – this phrase kept floating through my mind: ‘It’s a strange world isn’t it, Sally.’ And there isn’t even a Sally in the film. Memory plays strange tricks. I decided to retain the ‘tainted’ version. [PB] † ∞ **. Michaël Amy – Tell me, what is your work about? Peter Buggenhout – My goal is to achieve analogies for how I feel our world functions. Imagine yourself on the train, entering Brussels, passing behind all those old houses that have been completely transformed over time. New parts have been added to them, old parts have been torn down, a gabled roof has made way for a flat roof, windows with wood frames have been replaced by windows with plastic frames, and the design of the glass panes has changed. Some window and door embrasures have been sealed shut. New owners have modified these buildings in ways which were unforeseeable. The same is true of the room we are standing in, which †. Dialogue in Blue Velvet between Sandy and Jeffrey: ‘I don’t know if you’re a detective or a pervert.’ – ‘That’s for me to know and for you to find out.’ [TWR]  ∞. Users manual: The footnotes accompanying the text (and its footnotes [and its footnotes’ footnotes]) are written or consist of quotations chosen by different authors, indicated by their initials: Sofie Van Loo [SVL], Peter Buggenhout [PB], Hans Theys [HT] and Thomas W. Rieger [TWR].

has become my studio: It has gone through a great many changes since it was built over one century ago. It first served as the gym of this Neo-Gothic former boy’s school. Then, it was transformed into a puppet theater. Next, it became a neighborhood movie theater, and then, twenty years ago, it became my studio. This space bears the marks of all these changes. No one knows what transformation this space will undergo next. Or take the sea: It washes over the shore, leaves something behind, rolls over the shore over and over again, gradually building up a beach. Or take this conversation. We jump from one point to another. A conversation is unpredictable – it’s chaotic, one has no overview of it. I am likewise inspired by this working class neighborhood I live in, where everything is in a state of flux. The flux of reality is one of the principal subjects of my work. I did not start out with this view of my work. Instead, I discovered the subject of my work once I had produced quite a bit of sculpture. I studied mathematics. Math uses the language of symbols. Images of

iv things – which are, therefore, symbols of things – fail to seize the totality. That’s why I use analogy. Analogy stands so much closer to reality. My work does not include the least bit of symbolism. It is completely abstract. When we look at an image, we instinctively aim to recognize something in it. My sculptures do not escape this entirely natural impulse on the part of the beholder. However, my works are built up in such a way that each impression one has of what one sculpture could refer to is dismantled as one walks around the work. Once you have finished walking around one of my sculptures, you cannot but conclude that it resembles nothing other than itself. The materials I use are all abject: dust, stomachs, innards, blood, hair. These materials lose their form and meaning once they are removed from their original context. Once this is achieved, these things become repellent. The act of reading symbols, which is ingrained in all of us, makes us overlook the actual appearance of the object. By dismantling this tendency of ours to work with symbols, I

bring the viewer back to the object itself, and all its inherent qualities which symbolism bypasses. That is why I work with abject materials. Bataille said the abject was invented in order to declassify things. One declassifies by ignoring symbolism. MA – I see connections between some of your sculp­ ture and 1950’s art informel. PB – Yes, and no. Some critics have described my works as the archeological finds of the future – which is only one among many possible interpretations of my work. I never speak of a correct or incorrect interpretation, as these categories disappear. My sculpture defies categorization. Each interpretation of my work needs to be toppled. I aim to return to sculpture as object, as thing. I do not aim for an exploration of sculpture as a system of forms. Witness the different venues where my work has been shown. My sculpture can function as an ethnographic object, an archeological find, a work of art, or a thing produced by nature. MA – How do you produce the sculptures whose surfaces are covered with the stomach of a cow?

v PB – The stomachs are handled while moist. They are wet when they come back from the tanners. I stretch a stomach over a core. This core may have any form whatsoever – I sometimes even use the remains of my wife’s work, such as fiberglass molds, to produce the skeletons for my sculpture. Or, I may use polyurethane foam or polystyrene as the basic shape, which I then cover up with blood, dust or a cow’s stomach I do not aim for a particular form. The objects I use as the core for my sculpture are likewise abject, as they are removed from their original context. They thereby lose their meaning and are looked upon with aversion. All of these found objects are things I happen upon, independent of aesthetic considerations. Instead, I am interested in these objects’ architectonic suitability. As I often say, if I need to plant a nail in a wall and do not have a hammer, then a number of objects appear before me as suitable alternatives. The objects that constitute the core of my sculptures are suitable in this way. MA – How did you arrive at the idea of using blood, stomachs and innards?

PB – My father-in-law is a butcher. I am interested in how things grow from inside outwards – like a child, or like a seed that turns into a tree. I am interested in unpredictability – that’s what my work is in large measure about, the trajectory of forms, thoughts, ideas, feelings. Then again, there are forms, thoughts, ideas, feelings that are shaped from the outside. This led me to the dust-works. Dust falls upon things. It changes the form and meaning of things. Dust covers the original form like a blanket which – as Picasso noted – is the gentlest possible protection for an object. Picasso let dust lie all over the place. Did you know that in the 19th century, dust was left to swirl in the corners of houses? Dust was considered an intermediary between a known and an unknown world. MA – How do you obtain these materials? PB – The dust is gathered from the vacuum cleaners of cleaning companies. The hair comes from the tails of horses. I began making the bloodworks, and the hair sculptures, two years ago. The blood is obtained from slaughterhouses and

vi treated with preservatives. My studio becomes a terrible mess when I work on the blood sculptures. Many of these sculptures need to be discarded because they fail to communicate. Those are the most difficult sculptures to produce, as they are subject to so much change over time. How do you handle what is unpredictable? – You cannot control it. Each truth is variable. I am interested in how we handle what is unpredictable. I am interested in actions that cannot be controlled. In my work, I unleash chaos. My blood-sculptures, in particular, are very intuitive and visceral – a sort of manipulation of what is unpredictable. My sculptures do not require preparatory drawings or models. I work on a bunch of sculptures simultaneously. My sculptures are acts of improvisation. They have their point of origin in my confidence in my worldview. MA – Your works are titled. PB – The dust-works all receive the same title: The blind leading the blind, followed by a number. Louise Bourgeois gave that title to one of her works. The title goes back to Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s painting

of that parable at the Capodimonte in Naples. The blind do not know where they come from, or where they are going. The blood-works are all titled Gorgo, which refers back to Medusa. Perseus used his shield as a mirror to see Medusa and slay her. A mirror of reality: That is the beginning of the art of painting. The recent sculptures with innards are all titled Mont Ventoux, after Petrarch. Petrarch wanted to catalogue the world he saw in front of him, but overlooked the very mountain he stood upon. You need distance in order to classify things. The titles are not tied to the appearance of the sculptures. Instead, they reflect my way of seeing the world. MA – When do you know when a sculpture is fin­ ished? How can we tell whether or not a sculpture is successful? PB – The sculpture must be completely abstract. It must be devoid of all symbolic content. It is only finished once it has a personality that is very much its own. Like people, each sculpture must develop a different character.



?. a.

When is the work finished, you ask? It probably never is. I just stop working on it at a given moment. I compare this process to meeting someone on a street: You begin the conversation by exchanging pleasantries, and depending on the situation you find yourself in, you feel after five, ten, fifteen or twenty minutes that it is time to call it a day. The same is true of these sculptures. Things are not systematically planned. MA – A somber mood pervades your work. Your sculpture brings up themes of breakdown and aban­ donment. PB – I am not sure you are right. The opposite may be true. I let the viewer decide. Destruction leads ultimately to reconstruction, in the same way that dead leaves nurture trees. We are confronted to a constant back and forth. The situation is in flux. A wide range of connections can be made. MA – You began as a painter. PB – I painted until 1990 and then stopped altogether because painting is always symbolic. Painting is not a concrete object. I needed five years to learn how to make sculpture. I began working with

the stomachs and innards in 1995. MA – Tell me again: Why do you feel this need to reject all symbolism from your work? PB – It’s an obsession of mine. I want to make something that is a part of reality – like a person. I want to arrive at something that allows for greater interaction. I aim for the sense of wonder. I want to confront reality – not representations of things. From the moment the work refers to something else, it becomes symbolic. MA – What art do you feel drawn to? PB – I am interested in West African art. I am deeply interested in the works produced by the Dogon and the Bambara people. Nboli statues fascinate me. I am also mesmerized by Buddhist scholar stones. Those stones are removed from nature and dated to the year when they receive their bases. I have closer links to these kinds of expression than to any other art. Art fails to inspire me, as ninety-nine percent of it is symbolic. MA – But African sculpture is not without symbolic content.a

viii PB – The symbolism of Nboli statues disappears as the offers accrue. Although the statues are initially fraught with signs and symbols, a transformation takes place as a result of ritual performances. Both the original statue and its meaning are encapsulated in the materials of ritual. Only those who are initiated recognize the symbolism of the statue. But this is true of all art that is symbolic – you have to know the meaning of those symbols. Those who are not initiated, on the other hand, find themselves confronted to a fascinating mystery. Some Dogon statues become formless and unrecognizable as they are covered with the many offers that are made to them. MA – Which books inspire you? PB – Perec’s La vie mode d’emploi (Life: A User’s Manual, 1978), Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn (Die Ringe des Saturn, 1995). The rings are composed of fragments of a moon that came too close to Saturn and exploded. The particles of the destroyed moon may yet come back together again to form a new moon. Coming too close to the truth is dangerous. It

may lead to destruction, which leads to rebuilding. Perec’s book is unreadable, although you cannot let go of it. You can jump into it anywhere you want. For Perec, life amounts to a long enumeration. The book describes an apartment building, with all of its inhabitants and all of their belongings. It’s a completely amorphous situation. That book comes so very close to reality. It isn’t nihilistic. It isn’t negative or condescending. Instead, it speaks of great feeling for life. Sebald also has great love for people. These writers know how people react, and how they function. My dust-sculptures seize life itself. They are filled with particles of people – mainly cells and hair – and are chockfull of traces of the environments these people live in. ‘Seizing the chaos of life: a conversation with Peter Buggenhout’ by Michaël Amy, Sculpture Magazine, vol. 28, No. 5, June 2009, p. 25–29.


Sofie Van Loo The Language(s) of Silent ‘Borderlinking’ and Analogue Abstraction beyond the Narrative in the work of Peter Buggenhout




Index of illustrations in text General index

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The Language(s) of Silent ‘Borderlink­ ing’  and Analogue Abstraction be­yond the Narrative in the work of Peter Buggenhout — Sofie Van Loo  1


28 November 2008: Snippets From An Imaginary-Real Conversation In The World Of Narratives b

On the evening of 28 November 2008, a Friday, when Lady Sabbath had just entered, tongues, lungs and testicles with salad and bread were served outdoors in Tel Aviv.b You are an experimental eater. And he is an excellent cook. Where did you meet your 1 1. For the concept of ‘borderlinking’ and ‘analogy’ see Bracha L. Ettinger, The Matrixial Border­ space, 2006; Sofie Van Loo, ‘Analogies’, in [exhibition catalogue] Sincerely, a Friend: Peter Buggenhout, with text by Douglas Park, Peter De Graeve and Sofie Van Loo, ‘De res derelictae’, De Garage, Cultural Centre Mechelen, 2006; Sofie Van Loo, ‘Keel­kantelingen/ Throat Turnings’, in [exhibition catalogue] Beklem­ ming en verademing in kunst/Oppression and Re­ lief in Art, with introduction by Paul Vandenbroeck and essays by Bracha L. Ettinger and Sofie Van Loo (curator), Antwerp Royal Museum for Fine Arts, with Gynaika, MER. Paper Kunsthalle, 2006 –2007.

2. This text was written February, 2009






incredible assistant? He used to be a student, is also an artist who started a gallery in Ghent where I once exhibited. […] It’s warm for the time of year. In Moscow it’s minus 15°C. [Story about heater that stopped working at minus 20°]. No one can outdo that. I couldn’t survive it, just leave me in Tel Aviv. […] The art world in Moscow, Tel Aviv, ‘Belgium’ and Mumbai with the recent attacks there lies shattered on the table. […] What do you mean a control freak? […] There we were, in India, with our concepts of the ‘abject’ and the ‘uncanny’. […] Let’s drink to the health of Georges Perec! ‘My problem with ordering things is that it doesn’t sink in. As soon as I finish putting things in order, the order is obsolete.’ 3 Excellent wine, this Golan Heights red, […] Café Leopold is around the corner from the gallery. In hindsight, it’s all so unreal. […] Post-colonialism, localism and globalism are new guises of old-school colonialism. Let’s keep it simple! We’ve only just started. […] Perhaps one can only escape infantilism in playfulness.c It seems that journalists can no longer get into Gaza. Nobody can get into Gaza… Even worse, nobody can get out of Gaza anymore […]. Let’s concentrate on 2 3. « Mon problème, avec les classements, c’est qu’ils ne durent pas… » Georges Perec, Espè­ ces d’espaces, 1974, p. 19.ii

ii. « j ’aime : les parcs, les jardins, le papier quadrillé, les stylos, les pâtes fraîches, Chardin, le jazz, les trains, être en avance, le basilic, marcher dans Paris, l’Angleterre, l’Ecosse, les lacs, les îles, les chats, la salade de tomate épépinée et pelée, les puzzles, le cinéma américain, Klee, Verne, les machines à écrire, la forme octagonale, […] la plupart des symphonies de Haydn, Sei Shonagon, les melons et les pastèques. je n ’aime pas : les légumes, les montres-bracelets, Bergman, Karajan, le nylon, le « kitsch », Slavik, les lunettes de soleil, le sport, les stations de ski, les voitures, la pipe, la moustache, les Champs-Elysées,

la radio, les journaux, le music-hall, le cirque, […] les pointes Bic, Marin Karmitz, les banquets, l’abus des italiques, Bruckner, le disco, la haute-fidélité […]. » Georges Perec, J’aime/Je n’aime pas, L’Arc, n° 76, 1979, p. 38–39.* [PB]

*. Ah, the summary, the fragment! In the 1980s I collected summaries and published texts that were summaries of summaries. And it is true, men with pipes can’t be trusted. VDB! Van Gogh! Duchamp! Gombrovicz! (The only exception: Captain Haddock) I prefer Sei Shonagon: ‘The camphor tree usually stands alone and avoids rubbing shoulders with other trees. Its jumble of branches has something threatening and alienating; yet the fact that the stem divides into a thousand branches has called up an association with people in love. (For that matter, I wonder who the first one was to discover that it has that many branches).’ I quote

one summary from my endless collection because it could summon an image of Buggenhout’s work: ‘She set up her demonic laboratory with her normal paraphernalia, filled it with an assortment of incense, tablets with illegible letters, the wreckage of long-sunk ships, many limbs of mourned and buried bodies, noses and fingers, nails of those crucified with bits of flesh still attached, the catchment of blood from cloven cadavers crushed craniums snatched from the jaws of mutilated animals.’ [HT]






art, much more simple […]. The point is to see.4 We’re still looking, I’m afraid. […] Will it ever be enough? One critic interpreted your sculpture as a crashed plane, while I was longing for some non-classifying abstraction.5 You might as well see a complex love relationship in it; or the materialised excretion of a few days hard thinking. But thinking by many people at once. Or it could be contiguous bodies and brains, feelings, effects, defects and thoughts. But this still isn’t abstraction. What is abstraction,6 if it isn’t logical order? And what exactly is chaos, if it’s not emotional chaos? […] Abstraction is silent. Have you read the news today? No, we are ‘in’ the news or at least near the ‘news’. Information is a construction like any other 7 but one swimming in embroidered credibility. This is also a kind of accumulation. I have a problem with group exhibitions with a national audience and global theme […] You said it was an installation?d It’s a site-specific work, or perhaps an installation with separate sculptures. The works can function on their own. It looked more like an installation 3 4. In following and reflecting upon Georges Didi-Huberman (Was wir sehen blickt uns an. Zur Metapsychologie des Bildes, 1999) Juliane Rebentisch coins the felicitous term ‘Sehen in der Schwebe’ (seeing in abeyance or seeing in limbo). Beyond Frank Stella’s tautological verdict ‘What you see is what you see’ or James Elkins’ ‘What you see is what you know.’ Rebentischwguage. Interestingly enough, this argument came up within the context of the ‘psycho-active’ dimension of Minimalist art objects like those of Tony Smith, Robert Morris and Donald Judd. I would like to refer to Juliane Rebentisch, ‘Mourning for Disco. Minimalismus, Theatralität, eine Theorie des Sehens und eine Installation’, in Christian Kravagna (ed.), Agenda. Perspektiven kritischer Kunst, 2000, p. 93–105. On the seeing of disgusting objects (in which I, of course, would include garbage or debris) see my text ‘Katze ohne Grinsen. James Elkins Volkshochschule des Sehens’, in Texte zur Kunst 58, 2005, 121–123. [TWR] 5. ‘It is as if an organ intended for transplantation was left behind on a metal operating table rather



than being inserted into a new body. His installations are his sculptures’ salver.’ Jeroen Laureyns, ‘Een omgekeerde vorm van archeologie. Het werk van Peter Buggenhout’ [Archeology in reverse. The work of Peter Buggenhout] ( levelone). [PB] 6. ‘Once a sound sculpture has entered the categories of thirds and/or has been reduced to ohms, this free space, too, is lost. It would be better to reject immediately the calamitous consequences of denuding.’ Peter Buggenhout, Daily reports and comments, 28.10.2007. 7. « Il y a beaucoup de choses place SaintSulpice […]. Un grand nombre, sinon la plupart, de ces choses ont été décrite, inventoriées, photographiées, racontées ou récensées. Mon propos dans les pages qui suivent a plutôt été de décrire le reste : ce que l’on ne note généralement pas. » Georges Perec, Tentative d’épuisement d’un lieu pa­ risien, 1975/1983. [PB]



on the scale model.e Yes, but we couldn’t build a wall. Do you need a wall to make an installation? It should be possible, this is the Middle-East after all? You stay a painter, in one way or another. There’s nothing hanging on the wall; there’s nothing even leaning against it. Everything stands or hangs unaided. Nothing stands on its own, that is the myth of the autonomous artwork. […] Sculpture isn’t really the right word. Object is even worse. These are images that trigger the imagination. You can project onto it whatever you want.8 There will be less reflecting this time. We didn’t bring any glass. Projecting will also be a problem, there are no screens. Yet formlessness does have its own shape. I risk becoming repetitive. As Bataille already said. Formlessness can indeed be surprising. […] The work will probably be given a political interpretation. Do you think so? In what way? I can think of a lot of interpretations, but a political one is the least expected that I’ve heard so far. The work is an analogy for the uncontrollable and the unpredictable, it is complex, simple, abstract, realistic; in the best case it triggers the viewers imagination and I’ve just been told that that is sublime. Of course, politics can also be uncontrol4 8. ‘… what is the connection between – I point to the objects: air, the pimple on your nose, the blue in her sweater (pointing to the pretty redhaired girl with freckles, who looked at me with irritation), the sun’s infra-red radiation at this moment, the acorns in the tree outside, …? Answer: none. Art (by art I mean the art of Art History) has the quality/potential to link all these things in a meaningful whole. This explains its consoling character within a fragmented world.’ Peter Buggenhout, Daily reports and comments, 04.11.2008.








lable and unpredictable. But what does politics mean here and now? Are you referring to the dust? Seen from the side the other sculpture looks like an excavator,9 but when you view it from the front it’s just something shapeless that could be anything. There’s nothing apocalyptic10 about it, even if tragedy tip-toes through the work. Is it possible for something to resemble formlessness? Entrenched abstraction perhaps. Viewers can make of it what they will. […] It would be fascinating to show your work in such a magnificent, international-style house. After all, we’re in the quintessentially Bauhaus city, a UNESCO world heritage site since 2003. And despite all that, there are signs of decayed glory here and there. Although when your work is added: no nostalgia for utopias, no utopia-like nostalgia. Someone argues: Zionism is passé! […] When does a surprise turn into a mistake? Keep it simple. When does an error turn into a surprise? Keep it bland. Do you know how to catch and cook frogs? No, not again, not that horrible story with the frogs that came back to life.f That is one possible definition of the abject. No, of the ‘uncanny’. I can’t stand frogs legs. So concentrate on your tongue, your lungs and your testicles. 5 9. Moreover, within this context I’d like to introduce Peter Blegvad’s (following C.G. Jung’s?) term ‘numinous object’ which kind of transcends the interaction between beholder and (art)object somewhere beyond the sublime. ‘A numinous object is charged like a condenser. It distorts induction and resonates ambiguously. In Surrealist parlance, it is ‘convulsive’, with the power to abrogate definition from its surroundings and become the solitary and radiant focus, the ‘omphalos’ or navel, of an entire world. An object with sufficient numinous charge can stop time.’ Peter Blegvad, ‘On numinous objects and their manufacture’, [TWR]


10. ‘[I]f Bosch’s vision of hell is prophetic, the prophecy is not so much in the details – haunting and grotesque as they are – but in the whole. Or, to put it another way, in what constitutes the space of hell. There is no horizon there. There is no continuity between actions, there are no pauses, no paths, no pattern, no past and no future g. There is only the clamor of the disparate, fragmentary present. Everywhere there are surprises and sensations, yet nowhere is there any outcome. Nothing flows through: everything interrupts. There is a kind of spatial delirium. […] Compare this space to what one sees in a typical CNN news bulletin, or a mass media


Please pass the salad. Is there nothing else I can order? I just remembered I was a vegetarian. Perhaps, if you’re quick, we can take in a movie. Tel Aviv has such an intense atmosphere. Maybe it’s the cappuccinos here or could it be something completely different? It’s in the air, a daft statement. What’s underground is even crazier. What’ll happen with the two dust sculptures of ‘The Blind Leading the Blind’ after the exhibition? Shipping back shouldn’t be a problem. They’ll crawl out of the museum on their own. But it did happen: Just then, frogs suddenly start to rain from the sky. Didn’t you see Magnolia? h (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999). A fascinating scene or just an exaggeration in overdrive. On 28 November 2008: The Al-Quassam Brigades launched five homemade projectiles at Israeli targets and the Al-Mujahidin Brigades shot two missiles. This was in response to the death of a Palestinian, which resulted from aerial bombardment north of Khan Younis on Friday afternoon. One man died and several others were wounded after Israeli planes fired on the An-Nasser Brigades in the city of Al-Qurara. Three men were taken to Nasser Hospital near Khan Younis. Three loud explosions 6 commentary. There is a comparable incoherence, a comparable wilderness of separate excitements, a similar frenzy. […] What the painting by Bosch does is to remind us – if prophecies can be called reminders – that the first step towards building an alternative world has to be a refusal of the worldpicture implanted in our minds and all the false promises used everywhere to justify and idealize the delinquent and insatiable need to sell. Another space is vitally necessary. […] The act of resistance means not only refusing to accept the absurdity of the world-picture offered us, but denouncing it. And when hell is denounced from within, it ceases to be


hell. Bosch’ prophesy refers to the world picture that the media present us with today under the pressure of globalization […]’ John Berger, ‘Against the Great Defeat in the World’, in The shape of a pocket, 2003. [PB]





are reported in the neighbourhood; ambulances had difficulty reaching the affected area. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets and sound bombs at a group – consisting of Palestinian inhabitants, peace activists from Bil’in and Israeli and international peace activists – that walked from Bethlehem to the separation wall in protestation against the occupation. A nine-year-old boy was wounded.11 On 28 November 2008: we’ll witness the first national e-mail-free day [this message was distributed a week earlier by e-mail. Today, a reminder arrived]. On 28 November 1908: Claude-Lévi Strauss was born.12 There are times that the consequence of consequences can take on insane proportions, probably because they are analysed from the perspective of origins and causes. Luckily it doesn’t keep raining frogs. Guts apparently, and with all that dust. During the ‘Eskimo Blues’ exhibit in Diepenheim (Netherlands, 1999) I served viewers steaming innards: stomach, intestines, kidneys, liver. At the time Michel Dewilde wrote, ‘Here he put the innards back in the subject.’ Your stomach almost turns at the very idea and this with a mouth full of testicle. Someone left a piece of lung on the serv7 11. ‘Wenn man den Nicht-Ort des Krieges transparent macht, wird er in der Phantasie vorstellbar, in der ‘Echtzeit’ der Information dagegen entzieht er sich.’ Jean Baudrillard, ‘Die Illusion des Krieges’, in Die Illusion des Endes, 1994. [TWR] 12. The man who dared to think of divergence in such a way that he noted that every new insight (e.g. in another culture) did away with the difference. His practical evocation of India, seen from a plane: like the underside of a knotted carpet. His beautiful observation that what we call primitive cultures are often the waning traces of high cultures, shapeless ends, not shapeless be-

ginningsi. Marc van Roosmalen, in Blootvoets door de Amazone [Barefoot through the Amazon] (2008), said of a tribe that its culture had, alas, died out. The only thing that they have retained is their custom of occasionally barbecuing and eating people. [HT]




ing dish and lit a cigarette. Someone else ordered chocolate cake, truffles, and a pomegranate desert. So it came from the blues after all, at least those of the Eskimos? j The melancholy has gone from your work. It may all still seem to be getting abject, neither the intestine works nor the Gorgos can simply or merely be called abject. It goes beyond working with abject material, putting the abject on display, with defining or recognising it. Tomorrow we’ll get something Italian. Eat some (re-)presentation in order to give some abstraction? Or, eat the formless to give abstract formlessness. Yes, the blind leading the blind:k where do we come from, where are we going? The art is in knowing when to stop. Question of feeling. And of transforming a lot of junk.13 That’s just the point, it’s not junk. Now, I wouldn’t call that a point. Ultimately, it comes close to being a vanishing point. Let us regard the silence that the accumulation emits. Imagination is a desire for abstraction that triggers imagination. Another accumulation. [Beirut’s Sunday Smile (2007) is playing in the background: One more time…] 8 13. Michael Thompson wonderfully describes rubbish as a phenomenon that ‘continues to exist in a timeless and valueless limbo.’ (Michael Thompson, Rubbish theory: the creation and destruction of value, 1979, p. 56) The connection between time, order and garbage has also been stated by John Scanlan, in On Garbage, 2005: ‘Notions of ambiguity and confusion inform a symbolism of garbage because they actually signal a split in understanding, or a disconnection that leaves us unsure about what things are, or what they belong.’ [TWR]








‘Mont Ventoux’: The slow birth of consciousness 14 Monika Szewczyk wrote, ‘what if conversation is understood not as the space of seeing, but of coming to terms with certain forms of blindness?’15 What if art is an imaginary space of or for seeing various types of (turning-over) blindness from which a different attunement of perspective to insight, a different language, different awareness and abstraction can be dislodged? How would these differ (if they differ) from earlier and other attunements, especially the rational enlightened views or romantic fantasies of fusion and confusion? Peter Buggenhout’s sculptures and installations also cause a language shift,16 albeit with an imagined slowing and a slowing gaze. His intestine sculptures are not confusing or apocalyptic linguistic blindsiding as you might think at first (cf. the title of the dust sculptures The Blind Leading the Blind)17 but intuitive sidelong glances or post-linguistic and pre-linguistic language decelerators of binary logic and dialectical clash. They digest the rubble that (de)constructions and formal structures leave disgorged along the wayl as useless material. They start 9 14. » Und so wollen wir denn gleich im Anfang den Grundgedanken aller physiologischen Untersuchung sowohl über den Gesichtssinn als über alle anderen Sinne aussprechen, den wir im Verfolg der Untersuchung uns nicht oft genug wiederholen können, und ohne den durchaus kleine Einsicht in die Physiologie der Sinne möglich ist… Dass die Energien des Lichten, des Dunkeln, des Farbigen, nicht den äußeren Dingen, den Ursachen der Erregung, sondern der Sehsinnsubstanz selbst immanent sind… dass das Lichte, das Schattige, und die Farben nicht dem Sinn als etwas fertiges Außerliches existieren,… Die Wesen der äußeren Dinge und dessen was wir äußeres Licht nennen, kennen wir nicht, wir kennen nur die Wesenheiten unserer Sinne; und von den äußeren Dingen wissen wir nur, in wiefern sie auf uns in unseren Energien wirken « J. Müller, Zur vergleichenden Physiologie des Gesichtssinnes des Menschen und der Thiere, 1826, p. 44–45. [PB] 15. Monika Szewczyk, Art of Conversation, Part I, Journal e-flux, p. 1 of 7. [SVL]


16. Already in the 1960s artists like Arman (‘Le Plein’ in Iris Clert’s ‘Micro Salon’, 1960, or his ‘Poubelle organique’ the same year at Centre Pompidou) or even Gordon Matta-Clark (his temporary installation ‘Garbage Wall’ 1970 in New York) developed an eye for the aesthetics of garbage. One could speak of a paradigm shift not only in visual arts during these years, which turned aesthetic tradition upside down: ephemera and garbage instead of ‘eternal’ works, seriality and repetition instead of uniqueness, imitation and copy instead of originality. A shift also to be followed in literature of the 1970s, for example in Michel Tournier’s Les Météores (1975) or in Italo Calvino’s La poubelle agrée (1977), to name only some few. See also Monika Wagner and Dietmar Rübel, Material in Kunst und Alltag, 2002. [TWR] 17. For a few years now, Peter Buggenhout’s works have been listed under the following three titles, followed by a number: ‘The blind leading the blind #1, 2, …’, ‘Gorgo #1, 2, …’ and ‘Mont Ventoux #1, 2, …’. Each title stands for a particular type of




where binary and dialectical logic stops. What cognitive, non-affective logic has left fragile and impaired, what the binary word has excised from view and left undigested and what can be considered abandoned material is shifted in sidelong expectation toward imagination, awareness, analogue and language. In this mode of affective pre-linguistic and post-linguistic language or as a rotated affective, non-cognitive gaze or of Bracha L. Ettinger’s matrixial ‘borderlinking’ time-space,18 his sculptures operate not only before and parallel to logic’s ordering or dialectical strategies, but also after this ordering has taken place. They are a transformation of the waste products that proceed from rational, non-affective logic’s ordering and that are felt to be chaotic or confusing, something between object(ive) and subject(ive), between the organic and the technological/medium. Peter Buggenhout’s art prompts us to imagine another logic, one intrinsically linked to an analogical abstraction, one that can be felt emotionally and mentally and that fascinates for its apparent formlessness.19 In this sense, the image sets the stage to a nearly impossible extent to allow space and time to breath, to allow the indigestible can be digested while, in this 10 sculpture; in their tri-unity they each explain Peter Buggenhout’s universe. 18. ‘Art evokes further instances of transsubjectivity that embrace and produce new partial subjects. It makes almost-impossible new borderlinking available out of elements and links that are already available partially and piecemeal. These elements will be transformed in ways that cannot be conceived of prior to the artwork itself, as they shift with-in-the-screen of vision inside the painting. In art today, it is trauma more than fantasy that determines the trajectory of what is, outside art, a forever no-time and no-place. Art links the iii. ‘It’s an obsession of mine. I want to make something that is a part of reality – like a person. I want to arrive at something that allows for greater interaction. I aim for the sense of wonder. I want to confront reality – not representations of things. From the moment the work refers to something else, it becomes symbolic.’ [PB] in ‘Seizing the Chaos of Life: A Conversation with Peter Buggenhout’, by Michaël Amy, Sculpture, vol. 28 (5), June 2009, p. 25.

too-early to the too-late, and plants them in the world’s time as matrixial time. To metamorphose a traumatic Thing-encounteriii and Thing-event is to extract the too early and too late from indifference toward with-in-visibility with-in-difference. New affects awaken archaic affects and conjointly offer a wit(h)ness-Thing its first apparition. The contemporary beauty effect approaches the effect of the sublime when it points us not only to the place of relationship to our own trauma but also to the relation of the “I” of the trauma of unknown others and to the unknown in the known other. The artwork processes a matrixial time where a memory of





n m


tilted position, still speaking to the imagination in silence. This speaking should not be approached expressively; a possible keeping and being silent that is not regarded as an absence. The only possibility, from the logical or narrative perspective, seems to be to purge away blind spots or dominate and control them with the binary logic of classification, representation, autobiographical narrative or to replace them with illustrations to a familiar conceptual and thematic narrative, especially that of the dialectic clash/dialogue in which death that falls to earth could lead to purportedly true conversations; but this often means merely ignoring, turning away from something, a nearly nothing that does not accept replacement by chaos, i.e. blind spots. Thanks to its use of its analogue functioning20 its existence alongside logical-binary excised work, Peter Buggenhout’s art more easily triggers the viewer’s analogical imagination.21 It hurls the viewer backward upon his/her power of imagination and confronts him/her with his/her responsibility for affective and intuitive expression when cognitive/non-affective and binary logic, a simplifying conspectus, suddenly gives up. Buggenhout’s sculptures and installations are abstract, but they are not abstractions 11 oblivion that cannot otherwise be processed finds its place.’ Bracha L. Ettinger, ‘Wit(h)nessing Trauma and the Matrixial Gaze’, in Bracha L. Ettinger, The Matrixial Borderspace, 2006, p. 149–150. [SVL] 19. ‘[…] tremendum et fascinosum’. [PB]iv 20. On ‘analogy’ see Sofie Van Loo, ‘Analogies’, in [exhibition catalogue] Sincerely, a Friend: Peter Buggenhout, with text by Douglas Park, Peter De Graeve and Sofie Van Loo, for the exhibition ‘De res derelictae’ held at De Garage cultural centre in Mechelen from 11 March to 23 April 2006 [no pagination], and Sofie Van Loo, ‘Keelkantelingen/Throat Turnings’, in [exhibition catalogue] Beklemming en

verademing in kunst/Oppression and Relief in Art, Bracha L. Ettinger and Sofie Van Loo, Antwerp Royal Museum for Fine Arts, with Gynaika, Mer Paper Kunst­halle, 2006–2007, p. 50–57; Barbara Maria Stafford, Visual Analogy. Consciousness as the Art of Connecting, 1999. [SVL] 21. ‘For some these rocks represented a focus for religious or philosophic meditation and served for contemplation prior to writing poems or painting. In the essay Taihu Rocks,v Bai Juyi wrote: “The famous mountains, the hundred caves and valleys are all presented by these rocks. Sit there and you can see at a glance a hundred hills spread over a

iv. ‘Mijn fascinatie voor zijn werk is vermengd met een duidelijke afkeer voor het visceralem : “Dégout d’une nourriture d’une saleté, d’un déchet, d’une ordure. Spasmes et vomissements qui me protègent.” Dit extract is afkomstig uit het bekende boek van Julia Kristeva Pouvoirs de l’horreur (1980) waarin zij haar theorie over het abjecte uiteen zet. Dit boek bleek verhelderend in verband met mijn eigen initiële reacties en de angst voor het lichamelijke.’ Michel Dewilde, Peter Buggenhout – Op het ogenblik geen oplossing, cat. verschenen n.a.v. de gelijknamige tentoonstelling in De Bond, Brugge. [PB]

v. ‘Onen of the oldest and most treasured Gongshi are the Taihu rocks from the vast drainage areas of Lake Tai, west of Suzhou in Jiangsu province. These outcrops of karst limestone are hard but brittle. Those formed under water are more precious because of their fresh, soft colour and their multiple, linked perforations. These rocks are drilled and then placed in the lake for wind and water to work their magic on them for generations. Then with a map from their ancestors, current generations “farm” these magnificent pieces of art from the lake floor. These rocks are usually large and they are best known for garden rocks. We are told




of the figurative-representative or the rational-conceptual. They are generatively and transformingly abstract, mentally and emotionally abstract. Logic is a created illusion, something imaginary as in analogical thinking, in the sense that logic is changeable, unstable and ill-functioning without analogy, at least in the long term. Analogue and logical cannot simply be seen as one another’s opposites, despite their different characters. When logic is not imposed from above, it is analogical. Rather than being resolved, similarities, differences and (the chance of) overturning become attuned to one another in analogy via nearly impossible feats of balance. Peter Buggenhout shows the back room of art creation 22 and its implications. In a literal sense, the work shows immediately what has taken place in the studio. Peter Buggenhout considers the amassing aspect of history, reality and imagination and the transformation of the residue that is buried under the bulk and pushed from the image as inseparable dimensions of every physical/biological, psychological, social, artistic, cultural, (art)historical and cosmic process. His art signifies an analogy to the transformation processes of history, reality and imagination; every work of art is an analogue, an entity 12 thousand lines in a rock the size of a fist.” ’ Bai Juyi in his essay ‘Taihu Rocks’, cited on nl. [PB] 22. ‘The stomachs are handled while moist. They are wet when they come back from the tanners. I stretch a stomach over a core. This core may have any form whatsoever – I sometimes even use the remains of my wife’s sculpture, such as fiberglass molds, to produce the skeletons for my sculpture. Or, I may use polyurethane foam or polystyrene as the basic shape, which I then cover up with blood, dust or a cow’s stomach I do not aim for a particular form. The objects I use as the core for my sculpture are

likewise abject, as they are removed from their original context. They thereby lose their meaning and are looked upon with aversion. All of these found objects are things I happen upon, independent of aesthetic considerations. Instead, I am interested in these objects’ architectonic suitability. As I often say, if I need to plant a nail in a wall and do not have a hammer, then a number of objects appear before me as suitable alternatives. The objects that constitute the core of my sculptures are suitable in this way.’o [PB] in ‘Seizing the Chaos of Life. A Conversation with Peter Buggenhout’, by Michaël Amy, Sculpture, June 2009, 28 (5), p. 25–29.

there are actually no more Taihu Stones from Taihu, unless they are recycled. However, similar Scholar Stones come from Anhui, in southern Shandong, and northern Guangdong Provinces. Some of the darker stone comes from the Nanling Mountains of Northern Guangdong, and are related to the Ink Jade stone.’ Quotation from newsletter/041804/index.htm. [PB]†

†. ‘Yesterday, October 30th 2008, George Nuku saw some dried, tattooed heads of his ancestors exhibited in a museum in Brussels. How did he feel about this? “A lot of people think the heads should return to our country. I don’t. Originally, they were made to be moved. We live in a pretty rough country. Moving the body of a killed friend is almost impossible. So we cut off the heads of our friends and family members to bring them home. They were easily recognisable because of the moko, of course. Actually, the moko looks better when you’re dead and when your head is dried. But I think the heads should be exhibited in a more respectful manner.

Now they are looked down upon. They are exhibited too low. I would like to make cabinets for them, so they can be hidden most of the time and be looked at in a more respectful way.” Hans Theys, All about George Nuku, 2008.




alongside the binary-logical word or alongside the illustration to all that already exists, which triggers an evolving imagination. That is why he wants their concentrated coalescence and operation to enter his work rooted in reality, without ignoring any of the errors, misunderstandings and failures or deconstructing any of the decay from this motley whole that might give birth to language, consciousness at any moment, however impossible that may appear – however uncertain this may be – at first sight. The artist’s intention is to grow accustomed to an amassing, abstract image that can fascinate in the hope that via analogical imagination, the encounter with complex, motley wholes will be experienced as less burdensome on logic. The accumulation has a transformational and imagining 23 nature. Peter Buggenhout’s realistic art also creates room for potential construction but expands construction with an affective imagination, an analogical power. Buggenhout’s work shows that binary logic as ordering and structuring system intended to control chaos/confusion can, in a real but phantasmatic sense, come about in a fairly chaotic and unstructured manner, but that our minds rebel against this and can sometimes not even conceive of it. They 13 23. ‘On a crisp October p morning in 1989 the sun ascended above the Atlantic Ocean and turned its gaze on a team of young researchers as they swarmed over what may be the largest archeological site in the world. The mound they occupied covers three thousand acres and in places rises more than 155 feet above a low-lying island. It’s mass, estimated at 100 million tons, and its volume, estimated at 2,9 billion cube feet, make it one of the largest man made structures in North America. And it’s known to be a treasure trove – a Pompeii, a Tikal, a Valley of the Kings – of artifacts from the most advanced civilization the planet has ever seen. The site

was Fresh Kills landfill, on Staten Island, next to New York city, a repository of garbage that, when shut down sometime in the near future, will have reached a height of 505 feet above sea level, making it the highest geographic feature along a fifteen-hundredmile stretch of the Atlantic seaboard running north from Florida all the way to Maine.’ William Rathje, ‘Yes wonderful things (the archeology of garbage)’ in Tales of the tip, Art on Garbage, 1999, p. 80– [PB]

vi. See also the Land Use Datebase of the Center for Land Use Interpretation re: Fresh Kills Dump: See also Mira Engler, De­ signing America’s Waste Landscapes, 2004. In Mark Dion’s fantastic projects ‘History Trash Dig’ (1995), ‘Raiding Neptun’s Vault’ (1997/98) and ‘Tate Thames Dig’ (1999) the artist inks the practice of amateur beachcombing and archeological digs in waste areas to scientific classifying, collecting and museum display. See Robert Williams, ‘Disjecta Reliquiae. The Tate Thames Dig’, in Mark Dion. Archeology, 1999, p. 72–101. [TWR] o.



24 25





seem doomed to using as guide a comprehensive structure that quickly becomes a monolithic perspective from which things are seen and judged/condemned.24 Our senses cannot always become attuned with ease to complex matters.25 The more people desperately grasp this monolithic block of binary logic, the more potential imagination and knowledge is lost, the more death joins the journey.26 The analogical images – the installation with dust sculptures in the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art – can be considered an analogy for the way in which binary and dialectic logic comes about and for the loss of imagination and knowledge that it produces; but it is also an analogy for the affective, intuitive way of encountering things in certain situations, whether these be emotional or mental object particles or a combination of the two. Nearly everything is a tilting, a possible fall and balancing; success with its potential failure and pure failure give spur to a new start, even though the solution is not endless and without limit. Buggenhout’s art calls to mind the present’s past and opens it to a future;27 but it does not allow this future to suffocate in predictions, even though that meant that viewers were confronted with something 14 24. ‘De jacht op de betekenis lijkt volgens de Seigneur zelfs “… veel op wat de honden van Aesopus overkwam die iets in de zee zagen drijven dat op een lijk leek en omdat ze niet dichterbij konden komen het water begonnen te drinken om een weg erheen droog te leggen, tot ze erin stikten.”’ Erwin Mortier, ‘Kort pleidooi voor enig gezond misverstand en de vitaliteit van het vergeten’, in Het vergeten van het geheugen, Studium generale 2007–2008. [PB] 25. ‘The horror! The horror!’, Kurtz in Joseph Conrad, Heart Of Darkness, 1902. [PB]vii 26. ‘Culture is the enormous rolling machine that gives order and structure to our world by pushvii. ‘… on the strategies of fear or how nature demands its rights; the laws of lawlessness, the absence of laws…’ Peter Buggenhout, Daily reports and comments, 28.01.2005. viii. ‘Once upon a time in a near future’ could be an accurate description of my work. [PB] q

ing lots of things to the borders. The rolling machine leaves lots of masses of rubbish, debris and dust behind, pushes it to the left and the right. It’s up to the artist to regenerate and transform debris in order it can be handled more easily and maybe bring hope bringing matter.’ Peter Buggenhout, Daily reports and comments, 28.05.2002. 27. ‘When the artist designs installations round his own sculptures, they seem to want to underline the sculptures’ homeless character. A second ‘outside’ arises there where an “inside” could have been created. Peter Buggenhout exercises a reverse archaeology.viii Whereas archaeology’s objective is to



that so far no single memory can memoriser in all its dimensions and aspects. Yet this did not mean that it freed itself from also memory: becoming accustomed to the image is finding an opening to imagination. Ostensible chaos has its own organisational and ordering principles that can seem invisible to common sense, but when triggered by attunement to certain situations, these can seek solutions at a given time in a given place in a specific situation. In this sense, Buggenhout’s art does not resist logic or attack language or concepts or descend into a totally uncognitive, languageless space where frozen will power and impulse reign. It analogically expands the concept logic, with which it could associate and want to associate, by expecting it. Reality contains no ‘as-suchness’. In other words: the divide between affective analogue and cognitive logic is purely arbitrary; it has led in one direction to idealism/romanticism and in another to conceptualism/realism. The intestine sculptures with intestines and stomachs from cows and horses serve as decomposing look-outs, the analogues that trigger a potentially other language in which cognition/logic are challenged to become attuned to the affective/intuitive without having to become separated from 15 peel back the layers of time patiently and to expose history, the artist imposes layer upon layer to create compacted timeix where originally there was nothing. Archaeology’s scalpel is reversed in Buggenhout’s work.’ Jeroen Laureyns, op. cit. [PB]

IX. My works are like relics of the past that radiate strangely in this world, battered and homeless once and for all. The essential power of these objects is liberated in proportion to the viewer’s goodwill, the slow pace at which he/she reads: the willingness to study them is a conditio sine qua non for seeing them as relic of what they perhaps once may have been. [PB]



28 s



them, without having to negate, translate, recuperate them or turn them into clichés. They digest the negligence of overviews; they bring slow images, potential words, consciousness to the surface. They withdraw from binary consciousness. Thus far, Peter Buggenhout’s art has inspired various texts linked by their efforts to express a pre-linguistic universe. Since over the years a similar linguistic revolution has taken place in his own art, the question becomes how this post-linguistic, pre-linguistic s 28 and analogical universe may, may possibly or may not, be attuned to a presumptive linguistic area. Peter Buggenhout’s analogical thinking does not exclude a logic with other words, but slows and shifts it forward and drags it behind. It uses the wiring in the work to do this. It invites us to look in between, look in, look out, look sideways, and thus to put overall impressions and comprehension into perspective. The intention does not appear to be a long-term slow-down, but a more speedy insight into the niceties, the subtleties and a humorous and adventurous treatment of (un)pleasant surprises. This attunement’s use of a sensing exterior should aid understanding of the motley whole. This may be the reason why it might be best to abandon the 16 28. ‘[…] in zijn boek Le Jugement de Paris begint Hubert Damisch met een onderzoek naar wat de psychoanalyse te zeggen heeft over schoonheid. Daarbij gebruikt hij onder andere een citaat van Freud: “Beauty (and charm) are originally attributes of sexual object. It is worth remarking that the genitals themselves, the side of which is always exciting, are nevertheless hardly ever judged to be beautiful: the quality of beauty seems, instead, to attack to certain secondary characters.”’ Edith Doove, ‘Dat waarvan je houdt is altijd mooi’, in Wolken zijn geen bollen, 2002, p. 9, cat. n.a.v. ‘Gebroed’ in De Brakke Grond,


Peter Buggenhout en Berlinde De Bruyckere, Amsterdam 2002. [PB] t




division between pre-linguistic, post-linguistic and logical-linguistic. Time and time again the deferred question arises of how an ‘other wordly’ logic can be thought, one not severed from analogical thinking, which was often the case in a historical sense, and that permits the analogue also to undergo greater refinement. Is there a logic that is not severed from affection yet that offers an abstraction? Can one conceive of an analogue that is not personal, autobiographically narrative or confusing? One possible answer lies in the illusions that accompany a work. Possible illusions do not abrogate the works and the works do abrogate the possible illusions. The viewer is confronted with his/her imagination, his/her compulsion to develop foundations for his/her illusions. S/he is also confronted with the risk of accepting these foundations as ‘real’, and so of hindering all other possible illusions. When Peter Buggenhout left painting u behind in 1989, he moved on to producing larger installations that included tipping and balance in an unaccentuated form. These works also included abstract drawings that aroused two types of image that have since come to be known as ‘Mont Ventoux’ v intestine sculptures – which had 17






starting point for the outer/unobstructed image. Yet there is likewise no merger of the two definitions of analogy that would trigger to a disanalogy or at least a Hegelian super-reconstructed variation.93 The Neo-Platonists began mixing things in the hope of achieving their highest goal: the ultimate unity comingled with infinity and negativity. The Neo-Aristotelians are mainly responsible for imposing proportional mathematics on things, e.g. on affects, in the hope of being able to control them. Since these could not carry on working in the images participation, they were easily reduced to d/effects. In other words: both started to suffer from a similar problem: the desire to impose something on the image and the world that would provide the answer that they wanted to hear.94 In a borderlinking analogue, the particles can no longer be imagined using bipolar poles nor can they be brought closer together using contradiction (cf. Anaximander, Heraclitus), which increases the desire for a stable (but insight-crushing) balance and a dialectic contradiction. A borderlinking analogue uses analogy and the motley complex of illusions and insights sprout from this to create possible borderlinks from which openings to the logical can 48 93. ‘I propose that at certain key moments in the past, and irrevocably with the Jena romantics at the turn of the nineteenth century, analogy as a reciprocating method and mentality was overturned by “disanalogy”. I call this massive cultural implosion into insurmountable and unrepresentable contradiction – separated by uncommunicative emptiness or clogged with conflicting distinctions – allegory, to indicate its literary origins within negative hermeneutics. […] Umberto Eco recently ridiculed it as “Hermetic semiosis”, the cabalistic obsession and paranoid credulity that uncritically leaps to link everything in the cosmos to everyxxv. ‘Better a comfortable lie than an uncomfortable truth (at least that’s what most of us think).’ Peter Buggenhout, Daily reports and comments, 29.10.1997. ††

††. At the same time, Nietzsche spoke in Be­ yond Good and Evil about ‘the most fundamental will not to know’. And that is not wrong either. Rather than bringing rest to the unknown by thinking, one will always try first to ignore the unknown or unexplained. When that doesn’t work one will try to destroy it quickly. Few dare to embrace the difference or respect ambiguity. [HT]

thing else.’ Barbara Maria Stafford, 1999, op. cit., p. 7–8. [SVL] 94. ‘The unknown is fraught with danger, unease, worry. Instinct’s first prompt is to put an end to this situation. […] Rule one: better any explanation than none at all.’ Friedrich Nietzsche xxv [PB]



arise. If an analogy slows binary logic when it gets homogenising tendencies and shifts these in affectively, intuitively and with imagination, it is a borderlinking analogue that transforms a possible philosophy of analogy into something that can be a starting/entry point into an affective-cognitive logic. It could be argued that this operates analogously to the way in which matrixial gaze and phallic gaze operate in the Ettingerian universe and that they could become further attuned to one another. Bracha L. Ettinger does not exclude the phallic, binary gaze – that would make the matrixial gaze phallic – her painting with its colour-lines and theory of matrixial borderspace inspires the question how both can become further attuned. One could think that Peter Buggenhout’s sculptures and installations are grafted onto the world’s flux and complexity as a motley whole and that it also offers a way of dealing with it. Peter Buggenhout’s art incorporates no aloof gaze toward the flux and complexity of this motley whole, but shows how it can be dealt with and how errors and deterioration cannot be excluded a priori or a posteriori;ba it repeatedly prompts viewers to think up creative solutions to specific situations that also arise 49


during the artistic process. A solo exhibition of Peter Buggenhout’s work in Lokaal 01 in Breda bore the title ‘The Future Tradition’. It can be said in 2009 that Peter Buggenhout displays and compares intensely concentrated ‘nows’ that, tilting and balancing, start to open themselves to imagination and consciousness.95

50 95. » Das Zen ist in dieser Hinsicht der reinen Versenkungsmystik verwandt. Wer mystischer Erfahrungen nicht teilhaftig ist, bleibt, wie immer er sich auch drehe und wende, außerhalb stehen. Dieses Gesetz, dem alle echte Mystik gehorcht, lässt keine Ausnahme zu. Dem widerspricht nicht, dass es eine verschwenderische Fülle heilig gehaltener Zen-Texte gibt. Sie haben indessen die Eigenschaft, nur dem ihren lebensspendenden Sinn zu offenbaren, der aller entscheidenden Erfahrungen gewürdigt worden ist und somit aus diesen Texten die Bestätigung dessen herauszulesen vermag, was er unabhängig von ihnen schon hat und ist. « Eugen

Herrigel, Zen in der Kunst des Bogenschießens. Der Zen-Weg, 2004, p. 16. [PB]

previous page and right : ‘Mont Ventoux #2’, 2006 Polyester, iron, papier maché, prepared cow stomachs, (h) 83 × 58 × 63 cm



‘Eskimo Blues #2’, 1999  Plastic, wood, polyester, prepared cow stomach, (h) 100 × 145 × 75 cm  Saatchi Collection, London, GB


‘Eskimo Blues #2’, 1999  Plastic, wood, polyester, prepared cow stomach, (h) 100 × 145 × 75 cm  Saatchi Collection, London, GB


‘Eskimo Blues #2’, 1999  Plastic, wood, polyester, prepared cow stomach, (h) 100 × 145 × 75 cm  Saatchi Collection, London, GB


‘Eskimo Blues #2’, 1999 Plastic, wood, polyester, prepared cow stomach, (h) 100 × 145 × 75 cm Saatchi Collection, London, GB



‘Eskimo Blues #2’, 1999  Plastic, wood, polyester, prepared cow stomach, (h) 100 × 145 × 75 cm  Saatchi Collection, London, GB


‘Gorgo #14’, 2007 Polyester, epoxy, polyurethane, aluminium, iron, horsehair, blood over a core of debris, (h) 126 × 162 × 88 cm Saatchi Collection, London, GB


‘Gorgo #14’ (detail), 2007  Polyester, epoxy, polyurethane, aluminium, iron, horsehair, blood over a core of debris, (h) 126 × 162 × 88 cm  Saatchi Collection, London, GB


‘Gorgo #14’ (detail), 2007  Polyester, epoxy, polyurethane, aluminium, iron, horsehair, blood over a core of debris, (h) 126 × 162 × 88 cm  Saatchi Collection, London, GB



‘Gorgo #14’, 2007  Polyester, epoxy, polyurethane, aluminium, iron, horsehair, blood over a core of debris, (h) 126 × 162 × 88 cm  Saatchi Collection, London, GB

Š Photo: Nele De Roo



‘The blind leading the blind #23’, 2008  Polyester, epoxy, polyurethane, aluminium, iron, household dust over a core of debris, (h) 72 × 91 × 148 cm, Glass box: (h) 95 × 152 × 117 cm  Rubell Family Collection, Miami, US



‘The blind leading the blind #23’, 2008  Polyester, epoxy, polyurethane, aluminium, iron, household dust over a core of debris, (h) 72 × 91 × 148 cm, Glass box: (h) 95 × 152 × 117 cm  Rubell Family Collection, Miami, US


‘The blind leading the blind #13’, 2007 Textile, wood, iron, horsehair, household dust over a core of debris, (h) 104 × 97 × 77 cm


Studio view ‘The blind leading the blind #11’, 2007 Polyester, epoxy, polyurethane, polystyrene, iron, wood, papier maché, household dust over a core of debris, (h) 124 × 198 × 103 cm Collection Hauser and Wirth, Zurich, CH (see also p. 164–165)


‘Gorgo #13’, 2007 Mixed media, polyurethane, wood, horsehair, textile, plastic, blood over a core of debris, (h) 301 × 97 × 68 cm


‘Gorgo #13’ (detail), 2007 Mixed media, polyurethane, wood, horsehair, textile, plastic, blood over a core of debris, (h) 301 × 97 × 68 cm



Exhibition View ‘VIT<A>ARTI’, Verbeke Foundation, Kemzeke, BE, 2007

‘Eskimo Blues #1’, 1999  Prepared cow stomach over a core of debris, (h) 112 × 206 × 125 cm, Glass box: 125 × 206 × 112 cm Collection Verbeke Foundation, Kemzeke, BE


Exhibition View ‘VIT<A>ARTI’, Verbeke Foundation, Kemzeke, BE, 2007 ‘Eskimo Blues #1’, 1999 Prepared cow stomach over a core of debris, (h) 112 × 206 × 125 cm, Glass box: 125 × 206 × 112 cm Collection Verbeke Foundation, Kemzeke, BE




‘The blind leading the blind #21’, 2007  Polyester, wood, hair, aluminium, iron, polystyrene, household dust over a core of debris, (h) 117 × 105 × 184 cm Saatchi Collection, London, GB



‘The blind leading the blind #21’, 2007  Polyester, wood, hair, aluminium, iron, polystyrene, household dust over a core of debris, (h) 117 × 105 × 184 cm Saatchi Collection, London, GB



‘The blind leading the blind #21’, 2007  Polyester, wood, hair, aluminium, iron, polystyrene, household dust over a core of debris, (h) 117 × 105 × 184 cm Saatchi Collection, London, GB



‘The blind leading the blind #21’, 2007  Polyester, wood, hair, aluminium, iron, polystyrene, household dust over a core of debris, (h) 117 × 105 × 184 cm Saatchi Collection, London, GB


Index of illustrations in text

a. Nboli (altar figure), Bamana (bambara), wood, encrustation, human bones

c. Still from ‘Le cirque’, Alexander Calder, 1961

b. Uterus and intestines of a mare


d. Construction of the exposition in the Herzliya Museum of Modern Art, Israel, 2009

e. Model of the exhibition in the Herzliya Museum of Modern Art, Israel, 2009

h. Still from ‘Magnolia’, Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999

e. Model of the exhibition in the Herzliya Museum of Modern Art, Israel, 2009

i. Still from ‘Les maîtres fous / The mad masters’, Jean Rouche, 36 min, 1955

f. Slaughtered frogs, Oyé, France, 2008

j. Detail from ‘Eskimo Blues #2’, 1999 (see also p. 56–63)

g. Detail ‘Gorgo #17’, 2009 (see also p. 88–93)

m. Detail ‘Gorgo #14’, 2007 (see also p. 64–69) l. Construction of ‘The blind leading the blind’ (Herzliya piece) in the studio, Ghent (see also p. 149–159)

k. ‘The blind leading the blind’ by Louise Bourgeois, 1941–1948

n. Chinese Scholar’s Rock, 19th Century. Collection Axel Vervoordt

q. ‘The blind leading the blind #18’, 2008. Polystyrene, wood, iron and household dust

o. Construction of ‘The blind leading the blind’ (Herzliya piece) in the studio, Ghent (see also p. 149–159)

r. Studio view with ‘The blind leading the blind #25’ (see also p. 116–117)

v. ‘Mont Ventoux #1’, 2007 (see also p. 178–183)

p. Still from ‘Estamira’, Marcos Prado, 2004

p. Studio view, 2006

s. ‘Gorgo #9’, 2007 (see also p. 104–105)

t. Exhibition view ‘Wolken zijn geen bollen / Clouds are no spheres’, Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, 2002 (see also p. 100–103)

w. ‘The blind leading the blind #21’, 2007 (see also p. 188–195)

x. Studio of Fredrick Kiesler, working on ‘Endless house’ in the 1960s

u. ‘Untitled’, 1990. Pigment on plastic, 3,5 × 2,25 m, private collection

y. Exhibition view ‘Res Derelictae / Dingen zonder eigenaar / Objects owned by nobody’, Mechelen, Belgium, 2007 (see also p. 76–85)

aa. ‘The blind leading the blind #20’, 2007 (see also p. 136–139)

z. Exhibition view at Konrad Fisher Gallery, Dusseldorf, ‘Mont Ventoux #3’, 2009 (see also p. 124–125)

ab. ‘Bergen zijn geen kegels/Mountains are no cones’, 1998. Polyester and prepared cow stomach, (h) 95 × 46 × 67 cm. Exhibition view ‘Eskimo Blues’, Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, Diepenheim, Holland

ac. Detail of ‘The blind leading the blind #14’, 2007 (see also p. 144–147)

ag. Pieter Brueghel the Elder, ‘The Parable of the Blind Men’, 1568. Oil on canvas, Museo di Capodimonte, Napels, Italy

ae. Forest with an infinitude of broccoli ad. ‘21th Century brain’, 1997. Plastic, leather and prepared horse intestine, (h) 22 × 17 × 11 cm

af. Installation view ‘Wigwam Blues’, 2005. Approx. dim. (h) 3,5 × 8 × 2 m. ‘Nous le passage’, Poëziezomer, Watou, Belgium (see also p. 160–163)


ag. ‘The blind leading the blind #9’, 2005. Exhibition view S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium, 2007 (see also p. 176–177)

aj. Exhibition view ‘Res Derelictae / Dingen zonder eigenaar / Objects owned by nobody’, Mechelen, Belgium, 2007 (see also p. 76–85) ah. ‘Eskimo Blues #2’, 1999 (see also p. 184–187)

ai. ‘The blind leading the blind #13’, 2007 (see also p. 75)

ak. ‘Gorgo #18’, 2009 (see also p. 106–107)

al. ‘Medusa’s head’, 2000. Plaster wax, glass wool, prepared horse intestine, (h) 40 × 26 × 35 cm, collection Delacourt-Buggenhout, Belgium

am. ‘Gorgo’, 2002. Polyester and iron, approx. (h) 11,5 × 17 × 8 m (work destroyed)

an. Still from ‘Les maîtres fous / The mad masters’, Jean Rouche, 36 min, 1955

aq. Undefined altar near Elora, India

ar. Detail ‘Gorgo #13’, 2007 (see also p. 168–171)

ao. ‘Gorgo #19’, 2009 ap. ‘Gorgo #2’, 2005. Plastic, wood, blood, horse hair, (h) 54 × 60 × 45 cm

as. Bracha L. Ettinger, Eurydice 23, 1994–98. Oil and photocopic dust on paper remounted on canvas, 28,7 × 51,3 cm. Collection Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

at. ‘Gorgo #1’, 2005. Plaster, plastic, horse hair and blood, (h) 72 × 58 × 52 cm

av. Still Atsuko Tanaka at work from ‘Round on Sand’, 1968. 16 mm color film, 9’50”, directed and edited by Hiroshi Fukuzawa, private collection Osaka. Photograph Takehiro Nabekura au. ‘Gorgo #12’, 2006. Plastic, polyester, papier maché, wood, iron, horse hair and blood, (h) 112,5 × 56 × 82 cm

aw. Reuben Nakian, ‘Voyage to Crete’, 1960–62. Bronze cast, 1963, length 297 cm. New York State Theater, Lincoln Center, New York

ax. ‘The blind leading the blind #16’, 2007. Iron armature, papier maché, expoxy, polystyrene and household dust, (h) 109 × 154 × 66 cm

ba. ‘The blind leading the blind #4_3’, 2004 (see also p. 86–87) az. ‘The blind leading the blind #33’, 2009. Plastic, synthetic leather, iron, wood, household dust. Collection Gallard, Belgium

ay. ‘The blind leading the blind #20’, 2007 (see also p. 136–139)

ay. ‘Gorgo #9’, 2007 (see also p. 104–105)

General index A friend  11 A knotted carpet  7 Aarsgat  18 Abandonment  iv Abject  ii, 2, 8, 11, 12, 20 ABR  28 Absolute  30 Abstract  i, iv, 4, 11–13, 33, 35, 41 Abstract expressionism  30, 42 Abstraction  3, 5, 8, 17, 21, 42 Absurdity  6 Academic  19, 21 Accumulation  3, 8, 19, 39, 41, 42 Achtlosen Dahingehens  22 Aesopus  14 Aesthetic  iii, 12 Affective  11, 14, 24 Affective/intuitive  15 Agenda  3 Airplane  21 Al-Mujahidin Brigades  6 Al-Quassam Brigades  6 Al-Qurara  6 Allegory  18, 48 Alternatives  iii Aluminium  42 Amazonienne  25 Ambiguity  5, 8, 48 Amnesia  36 Amorphous  v, vi Amy, Michaël  i– v, 10, 12 An-Nasser Brigades  6 Analogical imagination  11 Analogy  i, 4, 10–17, 19, 20, 27, 33, 42–44, 47–49 Analysed  7 Analysis  43 Anaximander  48 Ancestors  11 Anderson, Paul Thomas  6 Angst  11 Anhui  12 Anti-essentialism  30 Apertures  18 Apocalypse  27 Apocalyptic  5, 9 Archaic  10 Archeology  ii, 3, 13–15, 20, 43 Architecture  iii, 19, 28, 29 Aristotelian  47 Arm-driekantsteek  41 Arman  9 Art of Conversation  9 As-suchness  15 Ascent  21 Atomism  45 Augustine’s Confessions  22 Autonomous artwork  4, 43 Avant-garde  41 Aversion  iii, 12 Azetta  35 Aztec  37 Back room  12 Baert, Barbara  20 Balal  27 Bambara  v Barbecue  7 Barrenness  21 Bataille, Georges  ii, 4, 19 Baudrillard, Jean  7 Beauty  16, 28, 29, 41 Begriffe  28 Beirut (Sunday Smile)  8 Belgium  2, 23 Berber textiles  35

Berger, John  6 Berland, Alain  43 Bernard, Emile  21 Bethlehem  7 Beyond good and evil (Nietzsche)  48 Binary logic  9–12, 14, 39, 41, 49 Binnen  20 Blake, William  36 Blegvad, Peter  5, 36 Blind poet  30 Blind spots  11 Blind(ness)  iv, 8, 9, 24, 26, 28, 29, 39, 41, 44 Blood  ii–iv, 12, 24, 39, 42 Blue Velvet  i Blues  8 Bodily  28 Bois, Yves-Alain  19 Borderlinking  10, 24, 26, 29, 34, 39, 45 Borderthinking  40 Borges, Jorge Luis  30 Bosch, Hieronymus  5, 6 Bourgeois, Louise  iv, 28 BOZAR  35 Breakdown  iv Breda  50 Bronze  42 Broodthaers, Marcel  21 Brueghel the Elder, Pieter  iv, 26–28 Brussels  i, 12 Buci-Glucksmann  35 Buddhism  v, 27 Buiten  20 Burckhardt, Jacob  23 Burke, Peter  23 C.O.Y.O.T.E.  28 Cabalistic  48 Call it a day  iv Calvino, Italo  9 Camphor tree  2 Captain Haddock  2 Cardboard  26, 29, 42 Cartesiaans  41 Catalogue  iv Categories  ii, 3 Centre Pompidou  9 Cézanne, Paul  21, 38 Chaos  i, iii, 3, 10, 11, 13, 15, 43, 44 Chaos theory  43 Chocolate cake  8 Choll, Isabelle  21 Classer  43 Classify  iv, 41 Clouds are not spheres/ Clouds are more than spheres, mountains are more than cones  18, 20 CNN  5 Coatlicue (Aztek god)  37 Cocle, Jan  36 Coen, Ethan and Joel  22 Cognition/logic  10, 15, 19, 25 Cognitive/non-affective  11 Coherent  44 Collection  33 Color  30, 37, 39, 40 Communication  18 Compacted time  15 Complexity  4, 14, 27, 43–45 Concepts  15 Concrete object  iv Condenser  5 Condescending  v Cônes  21 Confusion  13 Conrad, Joseph  14, 27, 44

Consciousness  16, 34, 50 Consciousness as the art of connecting  11 Consolation  4 Construction  3, 13, 43 Construction rubble  42 Construction rubble insulation materials  26 Contemplation  11 Context (original)  ii Continuity  43 Contradiction  48 Control  iii Control freak  2 Convulsive  5 Coquille  21 Core  ii Correct  27 Crabs  36 Crane, Ed  22 Crashed plane  3 Credibility  3 Cross-section  23 Cubes  21 Cubisme  21 Da Costa, Valerie  43 Damisch, Hubert  16 Danger  48 Darmen  20 de Balzac, Honnoré  20 De Bond, Brugge  11 De Bruyckere, Berlinde 16, 41 De Garage  11, 34 De Graeve, Peter  11, 18, 37–40, 45 De Martelaere, Patricia  27 de Saussure, Ferdinand  24 Dead-end corridors  29 Debris  14 Decapitated  37 Déchet  11 Declassify/déclasser  ii, 19 (De)construction  9 Deconstruction  13 Defects  3 Define  46 Degeneration  24, 28 Dégout  11 Deleuze, Gilles  18, 19 Denuding  3 Descartes  44 Desmond, Michael  28 Désordre  25 Destroy  48 Destruction  iv, v, 32 Details  22 Detroit Institute of the Arts  28 Dewilde, Michel  7, 11 Dialectic logic  9, 10, 14, 41 Dictionnaire  19 Didi-Huberman, Georges  3, 20 Diepenheim, Netherlands  7 Difference  7 Direction  27 Disanalogy  48 Discard  iii, 34 Disco  3 Disegno  39, 40 Disintegration  25 Dismantle  ii Display  8 Distance  iv Distinguishability  30, 31 Divergence  7 Diversity  25 Dode  42 Dogon  v Doove, Edith  16 Douglas  11

Drawing  iii Duchamp, Marcel  2, 30, 42 Dunklen  9 Dunwich  22 Dust  passim Dust Sculptures  34, 41 Dustbreeding  30 Dynamic system  43, 44 Earthiness  38 Eating people  7 Echtzeit  7 Eco, Umberto  48 Effects  3 Efficiency  44 Elkins, James  3 Emotional  14 Empathic  24 Emptiness  32, 48 Energie  9 Entropie  28 Enumeration  v Enveloppe  21 Ephemera  9 Epochè  33 Equality  44 201 Erosie  20 Erotic  24, 25 Error  5 Eskimo Blues  7 Eskimos  8 Eternal  9 Ethnographic  ii Ettinger, Bracha L.  10, 11, 24–26, 29, 35, 39, 40, 45, 46, 49 Evil eye  37 Ex voto  36 Excavator  5 Excretion  3 External  29 Fantasy  9 Farbigen  9 Fascinosum  11 Fear  14 Feyerabend, Paul  47 Fiberglass  ii Figurative-representative  11 Figurative-symbolic  35 Flagpoles  20 Flaubert, Gustave  41 Florida  13 Flower Power  20 Flüchtigkeit  39 Flux  i, iv, Formless  v, 4, 5, 8, 10, 19, 33, 39, 47 Found objects  26, 30 Fragment  2, 4, 5 Franz, Erich  31 Fresh Kills landfill  13 Frogs  5–7 Fuchs, Ann  23 Funereal gifts  36 Future  ii, 5, 14, 24 Future Tradition  50 Futuristic  32 Garbage  8, 9, 13, 34 Garden rocks  11 Gaza  2 Gebroed  41 Genitals  16 Gesichtssinn  9 Gimbutas, Marija  36 Glass  30 Glass box  28 Glass cabinets  34 Globalization  6 God  18, 22 Gombrovicz  2

Gongshi  11 Gorge(l)  35 Gorgo  iv, 8, 24, 25, 36–37, 40, 41 Gorgo #…  9 Guangdong Provinces  12 Gynaika  11 Hair  ii, iii, 42 Healing  37 Heart Of Darkness  14, 27, 44 Hegelian  48 Hell  5, 6 Heraclitus  48 Herrigel, Eugen  50 Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art  14, 31, 32 Hessen, Eva  25 High cultures  7 Hirschhorn Museum and Sculptural Garden, Washington  28 History  12 Hollow body  18 Holvormen  20 Homeless  14 Homerus  30 Horizon  5 Horizontal and vertical  31 Horror  22 Horse  iii, Huhn, Rosi  35 Humanist  23 Idealism  15, 47 Iliad  30 Illusion  12, 17, 34, 44 Imaginary  9 Imagination  4, 8, 11, 13–15, 17, 30, 33, 35, 45, 50 Imprisonment  22 Improvisation  iii Incense  2 Incluses dans les âmes  19 Incoherence  6 India(n)  7, 21, 37 Induction  5 Inertie  20 Infantilism  2 Infinite  25 Inflexions  19 Informal art  ii Informal logic  42 Information  3 Informe  19 Inhuman  27 Ink Jade stone  12 Innards  ii–v, 7 Inside out  19, 40 Insight  9 Installation  3, 14, 19, 25, 38, 45 Installation (outdoor)  35 Instinctively  i Insurmountable  48 Interaction  v Intermediary  iii Intern(al)  20, 29 Interpretations  ii Intestines  7, 9, 15, 17, 18, 19, 21–25, 31, 35, 41, 42 Intuitive  iii, 11, 14, 24 Inward gaze  23 Iron  29, 42 Iron slag  26 Israeli soldiers  7 Jiangsu Province  11 Johnson, R.H.  43 Judd, Donald  3 Jungle  33 Junk  8 Juyi, Bai  11, 12

Kali  37 Kandinsky, Wasili  21 Kapoor, Anish  30 Katze ohne Grinsen  3 Keelkantelingen/Throat Turnings  11 Kegel  23 Khan, Younis  6 Kirali, Alain  28 Kirin  28 Klein, Yves  30, 38, 40, 42 Knowledge  14 Kompliziertheit  24 Krauss, Rosalind E.  19 Kravagna, Christian  3 Kristeva, Julia  11 KunstHart  44 Kurtz  14 Kuspit, Donald  28 L’inclusion  18 L’informe  19 La vie : mode d’emploi (Perec)  v, 29, 37 Labyrinth  22, 23, 29, 30 Lake Tai  11 Landscape  22, 25 Languishing  29 Latex  42 Laura  22 Laureyns, Jeroen  3, 15, 25 Lawlessness  14 Layer  15 Le Corbusier  21 Leegte  20 Legacy  34 Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm  18, 19 Let’s hope it still grows  18 Lévi-Strauss, Claude  7, 21, 24, 25 Lichamelijkheid  11 Lichten  9 Light  38, 40 Lightness  35 Limbo  3, 8 Line  38–40 Line drawings  29 Line grid  38 Lippard, Lucy R.  28 Lippen  20 Lloyd, Michael  28 Logic  0, 9, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18, 25, 42, 44, 47 Lokaal 01  50 Long, Jonathan James  23 Love  2 Lune  43 Lynch, David  i Maag  20 Mad Max  32 Maes, Frank  21 Magic  11 Magritte  21 Maine  13 Malevich  38 Man Ray  30 Magnolia  6 Mannerism  38 Map  11 Massumi, Brian  35 Mathematics  i, 48 Matrixial  10, 24, 46 Matrixial borderlinking  10 Matrixial borderspace  11, 25 Matrixial colorito  39 Matrixial gaze  11, 49 Matta-Clark, Gordon  9 Maze  22 Meandering  41 Meaningful whole  4

Mechelen  11, 34 Meditation  11 Medusa  iv, 35–37 Melancholy  8 Memories  18 Memorise  15 Memory  15 Mental  14 Mental art  42 Mer Paper Kunsthalle  11 Merleau-Ponty, Maurice  21 Mess  iii Metamorphosis  10 Metaphysical  40 Michael, Thompson  8 Michaux, Henri  42 Middel-East  4 Minimalism  3, 28 Mirror  iv Mirror-like shield  36 Mishima, Yukio  42 Model  iii Modern man  23 Moist  ii, 12 Moko  12 Monad  18 Mond  18, 22 Monochrome  30, 31, 38, 39 Monoloog  20 Mont Ventoux  iv, 21 Mont Ventoux #…  9, 17 Moon  v Morocco  35 Morris, Robert  3 Mortier, Erwin  14 Moscow  2 Mountains not Cones  18 Mouvement (art magazine)  43 Müller, J.  9 Mumbai  2 Murray, Peter  23 Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte  iv, 26 Mutations  25 Mystery  v Mystik  50 Naked  21 Nanling Mountains  12 Napels  iv Napoleontic Wars  23 Narcist  20 Nasser Hospital  6 National Gallery of Australia  28 Nature  ii Navel  5 Nboli  v Negative  v, vi Neo-Aristotelians  48 Neo-Platonists  48 Neurotisch  20 New realism  30, 42 New York  9, 13 Nicht-Ort  7 Nietzsche, Friedrich  36, 43, 45, 48 Nineteenth century  iii No Solution at the Moment/ Op het Ogenblik geen Oplossing  11, 18 Nomenclature  30 Non-anthropomorphic  36 Non-classifying abstraction  3 North America  13 Northern Guangdong  12 Nostalgia  5, 18, 47 Nothing  27 Nuku, George  12 Numinous object  5

Obsession  v, 48 Obsolete  2 Octopuses  36 Oddity  28 Ohms  3 Omphalos  5 On numinous objects and their manufacture  5 Ontglippen  44 Order/ordering  2, 8, 41, 43, 44 Organic  10 Orientation  22 Origins and causes  7 Oubliette  18 Outside  iii Overall view  23 Overview  i Pain  29 Painter  iv, 4 Painting  iv, 10, 11, 17–20, 39 Panoramic view  23 Paper  42 Paradigm  21 Paraphernalia  2 Parasites  20 Parturition  36 Pas, Johan  41 Passé  19 Past  5 Path  27 Peace  22 Peau  20 Peinture  21 Perec, Georges  v, 2, 3, 29, 37 Perforations  11 Perseus  iv, 36 Perspective  7, 14, 16, 20, 23, 38 Pervert  i Petrarch, Francesco  v, 21, 23 Phallic colorito  40 Phallic disegno  39 Phallic gaze  37, 49 Phantasie  7 Philosophic  11 Philosophie  19 Phlogiston  47 Physically  28 Physiologie der Sinne  9 Physiologischen  9 Picasso  iii Pictorial  38 Pipe  21, 47 Plaster  26, 29, 42 Plastic  26, 29, 32, 42 Platonic  47 Playfulness  2 Pli (le)  18 Poems  11 Political interpretation  4 Pollock, Griselda  35 Polyester  42 Polystrene  ii, 42 Polyurethane foam  ii, 12, 42 Pomegranate  8 Post-apocalyptic  32 Post-colonialism  2 Post-linguistic  10, 16, 17 Postmodern  42 Pre-linguistic  9, 10, 16, 17 Prehistoric  32 Présent  19 Present  33 Present’s past  14 Preservation  iii Primitive cultures  7 Prophecies/prophetic  6 Protection  iii Psychic strings  24 Psycho-active  3

Random list  201 Rathje, William  13 Rational  9, 10, 25 Raymond, Mary  42 Ready-made  42 Realism  4, 13, 43, 47 Reality  i, iv, v, 10, 15, 23, 45 Rebentisch, Juliane  3 Rebuilding  v Reconstruction  iv, 20 Redemption  27 (Re)generation  24 Regenerat  14 Reinhardt  30 Relics  15 Religious  11, 33 Renaissance  38 Repetition  4, 9 Representation  v, 10, 45 Representations of nature  23 Resonance  24 Res derelictae / Dingen zonder eigenaar / Objects owned by nobody  11, 34 Retinal art  42 Reverdy, Pierre  21 Rilke  38 Ritual  v, 36 Robbins, Corinne  28 Robinson, James Harvey  21 Rodin  40 Rolling machine  14 Romantic  9 Romanticism  15 Roosmalen, Marc  7 Rothko, Mark  30, 38–40 Royal Museum for Fine Arts Antwerp  11 Rubber bands  28 Rubbish  8 Rubble  9, 24, 34 Rubbsh  14 Rübel, Dietmar  9 Rupslogica/Caterpillar logic  18 Sacrificed  37 Saint Sulpice (place)  3 Sally  i Salvation  27 Sameness  43 Sandy  i Sartre  41 Scale  30 Scale model  4 Scanlan, John  8 Scenographic  19 Sceptic  33 Scholar stones (Buddhist)  v, 12 Schoonheid  16 Sculpture  10 Sculpture Magazine  v Sebald, W.G.  v, vi, 22–24, 39 42 Sei Shonagon  2 Seigneur  14 Seizing the Chaos of Life : A Conversation with Peter Buggenhout (Michaël Amy)  i–vi, 10, 12 Sellink, Manfred  26 Sensations  5 Sense-making  3 Seriality  9 Sextus Empiricus  33 Sexual  41 Sexual object  16 Shandong  12 Shapeless  5, 7, 24, 29, 39, 44

Shapeless object  32 Shell (spooned-out)  18 Sign  v Silence  25 Silent  3 Similarity  44 Sincerely  11 Sincerely a friend  20 Sinne  9 Sint-Lucas  40 Site-specific work  3 Situation  v Skeleton  ii Skin  18 Slow-down  16 Smith, Tony  3 Snakes  36 Soft Parts  18 Solitaire  43 Spatial delirium  5 Sphères  21 Spiders  36 Spiegel  28 Spin-kaak  41 Stafford, Barbara Maria  11, 18, 43, 48 Staten Island  13 Steen-oog  41 Stella, Frank  3 Stifter  22 Stoffelijkheid  42 Stomach  ii, iii, v, 7, 12, 15, 18, 20, 42 Stone  36 Straub, René  28 Structuralism  24 Structure  14 Studio (Peter Buggenhout)  i Styrofoam  26, 29, 34 Sub-symbolic  35 Subjectivity  22 Sublime  4, 5, 10, 34 Summary  2 Surface  16, 19, 20, 38, 40 Surprise  5 Surreal  5, 32 Surveyable  23 Suspension  33, 39 Suzhou  11 Swennen, Walter  18 Symbols/symbolism  i, ii, iv, v, 10, 43 Symmetry  29 Synthetic resin  42 Synthetics  29 Systematically  iv Szewczyk, Monika  9 Taboemateriaal  41 Taihu  12 Taihu Rocks  11, 12 Tanaka, Atsuko  28, 41 Tanner  ii Taoism  27 Tàpies, Antoni  42 Tattooed heads  12 Technological  10 Teen-kruk  41 Tel Aviv  2, 6, 31 Telepathic  24 Tentacles  35 Textile  42 Texture  19, 31 The blind leading the blind (Lucy Lippard)  28 The blind leading the blind #1, 2…  9, 18 ‘The horror’  14 The man who wasn’t there  22 The shapeless  19 Theatralität  3 Theorie des Sehens  3

Theys, Hans  12, 18, 20, 44 Thing  ii Thing-encounter  10 Thing-event  10 Thinker (Rodin)  40 Time  25, 33 Tolerant  27 Too-early  10, 46 Too-late  10, 46 Total art  41 Totenberg  23 Tournier, Michel  9 Tower of Babel (Brueghel)  27 Traces  v, vi Tragedy  5, 28 Trans-subjectivity  45 Transformation  i, v, 8, 12, 13, 30 Transject  40 Transplantation  3 Trash art  30 Trauma  28 Tremendum  11 Tri-unity  10 Tristes Tropiques  25 Truffles  8 Truth  iii, 43, 44 Tunisia  35 Turell, James  30 Überblick  23 Unaccentuated  17 Uncanny  2, 5 Uncommunicative  48 Uncontrollable  4 Understand  28, 34, 41 UNESCO  5 Unexplained  48 Unfathomable  32 Unforeseeable  i Ungraspable  32 Uniqueness  9 Unknown  iii, 48 Unordnung  29 Unpredictability  i, iii, i, 4, 5, 43 Unreal  2 Unrecognizable  v Unrepresentable  48 Unverifiability  43 Urine bags  34 Uterus  5, 36 Utopia  5, 47 Vacuum cleaner  iii Valéry, Paul  36 Van Gogh, Vincent  2 Van Loo, Sofie  1, 11, 20, 35, 39, 43, 45 Vanbinnenuit  44 Vandenbroeck, Paul  35–37, 44 Vanishing point  8 Verhelst, Peter  20 Vertical  38 Viewpoint  41 Village Voice  28 Visceral  iii, 11 Vodun  36 Volkshochschule des Sehens  3 Wagner, Monika  9 Wagnerian  41 Walter, Harry  28 Waterloo Panorama  23 Webs  29, 30, 45 Wendell, Charles Beane  37 West-Africa  v Wet  ii, 12 Wilderness  6 Wiring  45

Wit(h)nessing Trauma  11 Wolken zijn geen bollen  16, 41 Womb  36 Wonder  v Wood  26, 28, 32, 42 Wundersamen Papiervermehrung  41

Camera Obscura Photographs – p. ix : ‘Hopen dat het nog wat groeit / Let’s hope it still grows #2’, 1997 Prepared cow stomach over a core of debris, (h) 49 × 56 × 58 cm (see also p. 128–129) – p. x, p. xii : ‘Walsen is baltsen’, 1998 Prepared horse intestine, bronze, (h) 33 × 33 × 58 cm – p. 51 : ‘Op het ogenblik geen oplossing / No solution at the moment’, 1997 Damaged plaster sculpture partly covered with clay and prepared horse intestine, (h) 20 × 21 × 38 cm Collection DelacourtBuggenhout

Zen  5, 27


Peter Buggenhout was born in 1963 in Dendermonde, Belgium. He lives and works in Ghent, Belgium. (S) solo exhibition (G) group exhibition (publ) with publication

Exhibitions (selection) 2010 – Konrad Fischer Gallery, Berlin, Germany (S) – Maison Rouge, Paris, France (S) – Kunstraum Dornbirn, Austria (S/publ) – ‘Shape of things to come : New Sculpture’, Saatchi Gallery, London (G/publ) – ‘Signs of life’, Kunstmuseum Luzern, curated by Peter Fischer (G/publ) 2009 – Konrad Fischer Gallery, Düsseldorf, Germany (S) – Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Jerusalem, Israël, curated by Sophie Van Loo (S) – Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (S) – ‘In-finitum’, Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, curated by Axel Vervoordt (G/publ) – ‘Aerials Of Sublime Transscapes’, Lokaal 01, Breda, Holland, curated by Sofie Van Loo (G) – ‘Die Hände der Kunst’, Marta Herford, Herford, Germany, curated by Ronny Van de Velde (G/ publ) – ‘The Hands of Art’, S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium, curated by Ronny Van de Velde (G/ publ) 2008 – Gallery Maskara, Mumbai (Bombay), India, curated by Sophie Van Loo (S) – ‘Tracking Traces’, Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland (G) 2007 – S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium. Individual presentation on the occasion of the acquisition of ‘The blind leading the blind # 9’, 2005 and ‘Dust-scape, 2003’ (G) – ‘TRANS-SCAPES of Langsschappen’, Lokaal 01, Breda, Holland, curated by Sofie Van Loo (G) – ‘Nieuwe Collectie / New collection’, Stedelijk Museum Wuyts-Van Campen & Baroly, Lier, Belgium, curated by Peter Morrens (G) – ‘PAULO POST FUTURUM 25 jaar Lokaal 01’, Breda, Holland (G)

– ‘VIT<A>RTI’, De Kunstkas, Kemzeke, Belgium, curated by Martin uit den Bogaert (G) – Artempo, Pallazo Fortuny, Venetië, Italy, curated by Jean-Hubert Martin, Tijs Visser, Axel Vervoordt (G/ publ) – ‘De Schoonheid en de Waanzin’, Bruges Museum, Onthaalkerk OnzeLieve-Vrouw, Brugge, België, curated by Paul Vandenbroeck (G) – ‘Mutatis Mutandis (Extraits de la collection d’Antoine De Galbert)’, La Maison Rouge, Paris, France (G) 2006 – ‘Res Derelictae / Dingen zonder eigenaar / Objects owned by nobody’, De Garage, Mechelen, Belgium (S/publ) – ‘Gorge(l), oppression and relief in art’, Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium, curated by Sofie Van Loo (G/publ) – ‘La belleza y la locura, Felipe I el Hermoso, rey de Castilla, duque de Borgoña’, Burgos, Spain, curated by Paul Vandenbroeck (G) 2005 – Gallery Richard Foncke, Ghent, Belgium (S) – ‘Soul’, Groot Seminarie, Bruges, Belgium, curated by Willy Van den Bussche (G/publ) – ‘Over de Grens / Nous le passage’ Poëziezomer, Watou, Belgium, curated by Michel Dewilde (G) – ‘The Blind Leading the Blind’, Lokaal 01, Antwerpen, Belgium/Breda, Holland, curated by Peter Buggenhout (G) – ‘Visionair België’, Centre of Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium, curated by Harald Szeeman (G/publ) 2003 – ‘Art/Life’, Galerie Cartwright, Ghent, Belgium (G) – ‘Grand Tour’, Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent, Belgium (G) 2002 – ‘Station2Station’, Petrol­ stations in Flanders & Brussels, Belgium, curated by Michel Dewilde (G/publ) – ‘Inside Drawing’, Galerie Nouvelles Images, Den Haag, Holland (G) – ‘Metamorphosis. Peter Buggenhout, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Peter De Cupere, Johan Tahon’, Lieu d’Art Contemporain (LAC), Sigean, France (G/publ) – ‘De Lege Ruimte / Blinde

Vlek’, Gallery De Lege Ruimte, Ghent, Belgium (G) – ‘Wolken zijn geen bollen / Clouds are no cones’, De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, Holland (S/publ) 2001 – ‘Metamorphosis. Peter Buggenhout, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Peter De Cupere, Johan Tahon’, Academia Belgica, Roma, Italy (G/publ) 2000 – ‘Weke delen / Soft parts’, Galerie CD, Tielt, Belgium (S) – ‘Metamorphosis. Peter Buggenhout, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Peter De Cupere, Johan Tahon’, Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporaneo, San Gimignano, Italy (G/publ) – ‘Everything needs time…’, Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton, Exeter Great Brittain (G/publ) 1999 – ‘Eskimo Blues’, Kunstvereniging Diepenheim, Diepenheim, Holland (S) – ‘Op het ogenblik geen oplossing / No solution at the moment’, De Bond, Bruges, Belgium, curated by Michel Dewilde (S/publ) – ‘Jan Fabre, Peter Buggenhout, D.D. Trans’, Gallery CD, Tielt, Belgium (G) 1998 – ‘Loplop/re/presents : Back to Basics. (Waar het allemaal om draait/what it’s all about)’, Centrum voor Kunst & Cultuur Sint-Pietersabdij, Ghent, Belgium, curated by Edwin Carels (G/publ) – ‘The Future Tradition’, Lokaal 01, Breda, Holland (S) – ‘Tussenin / In-between’, Museum DhondtDhaenens, Deurle, Belgium, curated by Edith Doove (G/publ) 1997 – ‘Loplop/re/presents : The im/pulse to see’, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Holland, curated by Edwin Carels (G/publ)

Colofon Photo credits – Peter Buggenhout: 3 (d), 4 (c), 5 (f), 9 (l), 13 (o), 37 (aq) – Marie Cloquet: ix, x, xii, 51 – Nele De Roo: 5 (g), 8 (j), 11 (m), 15 (q), 16 (s), 17 (v), 18 (w), 20 (z), 21 (aa), 29 (ai), 34 (ak), 36 (ao), 37 (ap), 38 (ar), 40 (at), 40 (au), 42 (ax), 44 (ay), 45 (az) 53–75, 89–97, 104–109, 124–129, 132–143, 132–143, 169–170, 178–195 – Mirjam De Vriendt: cover, 13 (p/right), 15 (r), 16 (t), 19 (y), 21 (ab), 22 (ac), 29 (ah), 34 (aj), 35 (am), 37 (ap), 49 (ba), 76–87, 88– 103, 110–123, 131, 144–147, 160–161, 167, 172–175 – Yigal Pardo: 148–159 – Dirk Pauwels: 27 (af), 27 (ag/right), 163, 176 – Jan Pauwels: 17 (u), 24 (ad), 27 (af) – Hans Theys: 24 (ae)

Thank you Berlinde De Bruyckere, Nele De Roo, Marie Cloquet, Sofie Van Loo, Hans Theys, Thomas Rieger, Michaël Amy, Reinhard Pohl, Gautier Platteau, Luc Demeester, Wannes Gyselinck, Mirjam De Vriendt, Jan Pauwels, Dirk Pauwels, Stijn Cole, Hélène Borgers, Luc Derycke, Jeroen Wille, Geert Verbeke, Jona Vercruysen, Marc De Blieck, Tom De Visscher

Texts: Sofie Van Loo, Peter Buggenhout, Hans Theys, Thomas W. Rieger, Michaël Amy Copy-editing: Wannes Gyselinck Concept: Peter Buggenhout, Luc Derycke Graphic design: Jeroen Wille, Studio Luc Derycke Printing: Deckers-Snoeck, Zwijndrecht

© Uitgeverij Lannoo, Tielt, 2010 ISBN 978 90 209 8476 7 D/2010/45/110 NUR 642 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including printing, photocopying, microfilming, recording, or information storage, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.

‘There is nothing in things, but there are no things without content’ (song of the Jo-cult, recorded by Salia Malé, National Museum of Mali) / ‘Alle dingen zijn leeg, maar er zijn geen dingen zonder inhoud’ (lied van de Jo-cultuur, opgetekend door Salia Malé, National Museum of Mali) / ‘Il n’y a rien dans les choses, mais toutes les choses ne sont pas sans contenu’ (chant du culte Jo, enregistré par Salia Malé, Musée national du Mali) / ‘Alle Dinge sind leer, aber es gibt keine Dinge ohne Inhalt’ (Lied von der Jo-Kult, aufgezeichnet von Salia Malé, National Museum of Mali)