What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Or so the saying goes. While I light another cigarette, the package tells me that it will most likely damage my lungs. I ignore the warning signs and find pleasure nonetheless. When I rub my skin with Deet to keep mosquitos at distance, it’s not just the bugs that are effected. I accept the protection and assume the environment will be okay anyway. When I take that extra energizer, my heart might be less pleased. I happily embrace the extra hours of work they allow though. The cigarette pack, Deet and energizing pills make a subtle appearance in and on the new sculptures by Hadrien Gerenton. In the midst of the gallery, four dense and anamorphous objects are displayed in a matter of fact manner. Though their forms appear intuitive, they stand erect and convey a certain sense of authority. These four objects were constructed from a steel base, tubes and welded sticks, concrete was used to shape it out, epoxy to make it stronger. Step by step the shapes have evolved and the sculpture seems to have grown organically into its form. Its patina consists of a layered mixture where pigment is sprayed on top of the base, is then partly washed away, while new layers of oil and spray paint were added. The surface seems to be continuously morphing, potentially corrupting its solid base underneath and as such, its initial authority. Their colors point towards nature taking over. The type of nature we encounter at an industrial waste land though, on the outskirt of the city. The smaller objects, such as the Deet repellent, point towards another reality, one where pleasure and protection go hand in hand with destruction and infection. As guests on a host, they might create ghosts.
Here, the monitor lizard becomes the odd one out or perhaps the ghost, the point where figuration won from abstraction. Like zombies, the living dead settled in amongst the everyday, roaming trash bags and bins, it now roams the gallery space, disrupting taste and style.
One might recognize the leaves of the agave cactus, the verisimilitude of materials, sculptural questions of abstraction and figuration, as well as a sly sense of humour from Gerentons previous sculptures. With this new body of work, he avoids the relationality between objects, juxtaposes consumerism with an aesthetic desire that mixes desire and destruction, protection and infection. Materials disrupt and interfere with the process, through an alchemic procedure set into motion a perpetual unstable transformation of disruption.
Text written by Laurie Cluitmans