Thierry De Cordier


Sculpture, 130 x 80 x 200 cm.
Materials: wood, varnish, lacquer

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK6989).

A larger version of this scale model of a piece of street furniture, here conceived as an autonomous sculpture, once served as a pulpit at the foot of St Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent. It was an invitation to passers-by to say their piece freely and without constraint. The design of Chantoir is very literally halfway between a chair and a podium. Wood, a natural material, and the colour black are characteristic elements in Thierry De Cordier’s work. But the express invitation to communicate seems somewhat suspicious for a work by this Belgian artist-philosopher, because, in his sculptures, drawings and silent performances it is precisely the desire for ‘true’ communication that he suggests we are incapable of, something we lack. This is founded on a disbelief in the workings of our present society. As De Cordier himself put it: ‘Contemporary culture has been completely uprooted, it builds Towers of Babel’. This double meaning is revealed in the title, Chantoir. A ‘chantoir’ (small cavern) is a geographical phenomenon that occurs in Belgium’s karst areas. When limestone is dissolved by water it creates fissures and swallow holes. The speaker, who ‘dissolves’ in this Chantoir, represents man’s internal divisions, on the one hand wanting to change the world, and on the other realising that this endeavour remains unachievable.

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