How many billions of dollars (and trillions of man hours) have gone into strategizing and designing the logos hanging in Antwerp’s Galerie Micheline Szwajcer this month? There’s the blue Skype bubble, the bold Wild West serif of mega-discount chain Lidl, and the playful percent sign of Dia, a Carrefour subsidiary.
But these signs weren’t manufactured in a factory. Rather, they were made by hand, expertly crafted by the French conceptual artist François Curlet, who uses reclaimed formica tabletops to build the sculptures. Curlet’s fifth solo show at the gallery, Vintage Discounter, is on view until the end of January.
Curlet, who is 45, has long been fascinated by the relationship between art and corporations. In a 2007 piece called eBay, he transformed the e-commerce site’s logo into an Abstract Expressionist drip painting. In 2011’s Hot Cold, he spray-painted a series of blank aluminum cans with minimalist renditions of Pepsi and Coke colors.
In Vintage Discounter, he’s raided secondhand shops for Formica countertops, fashioning them into signage resembling the logos of a handful of discount shops and brands. Alongside the sign-sculptures, a series of Native American dreamcatchers hang woefully limp, weighed down by scraps of food packaging. One has a web made from a Lakers’-themed basketball hoop net. “The world of things and brands is prodigiously dismantled, reassembled and reified,” explain the Galerie’s curators.
Don’t call it remixing, don’t call it hacking–just call it reinterpreting. Check out Vintage Discounter if you’re in Atwerp, on view until January 26.