International Projects: Belgium
Didier Vermeiren 
January 21 – February 18, 1984

Didier Vermeiren’s exhibition was the second in a series titled International Projects, for which international curators were asked to select an artist from their home region to exhibit at Artists Space. Jan Debbaut, curator at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, selected Didier Vermeiren. Vermeiren had been exhibiting in Belgium and across Europe since 1974; this marked his first exhibition in the US.

For the show, Vermeiren exhibited sculptures that considered the history and status of the pedestal. Part of this project involved creating bronze replicas of existing pedestals – for example, a pedestal which originally supported a Rodin sculpture – to be exhibited on their own. Bridging literalist sculpture and the conceptual object, the works take advantage of the reduced sculptural aesthetic institutionalized by Minimalism, complicating the Judd-ian idea of the “specific object” by presenting an object with a specific function. The bronze blocks are extremely present at the same time that they evoke the unequivocal absence of another object. Other works were more traditionally sculptural.  According to Vermeiren, “A ‘pedestal sculpture’ consists of two parts, two matching pedestals – identical in shape, size and materials – one of which is placed on top of the other, upside down.” By joining the pedestals top-to-top, Vermeiren sets up a paradoxical situation in which neither pedestal is propping the other – instead, they are caught in a relationship of perpetual framing.

Installation view from International Projects: Belgium, featuring Didier Vermeiren, Artists Space, 1984

Installation view from International Projects: Belgium, featuring Didier Vermeiren, Artists Space, 1984

Installation view from International Projects: Belgium, featuring Didier Vermeiren, Artists Space, 1984