Kasper Bosmans is a storyteller. Fascinated by tales that resonate across time, he unpicks their threads and playfully weaves them into new stories. Always starting from specific examples – whether an obscure anecdote, artisanal recipe, or current news item – Bosmans employs local, vernacular traditions to speak about global questions.
Bosmans (º1990, Lommel, BE) is intrigued by the possibilities offered by diverse techniques and materials and the exhibition contains several new productions, in bronze, enamel, glass and sand. This ambitious and playful exhibition reveals the scope and humour of Bosmans’ original practice.
The exhibition adopts the title Husbandry, a term used to designate care and cultivation, the rearing of animals or growing of crops. At the intersection of nature and culture, husbandry is also the good stewardship of a household and Bosmans’ references are often domestic. He is particularly interested in history “as seen from the kitchen.”
“I am trying to find visual solutions to indigestible stories”
Kasper Bosmans (quoted in Zoë Gray’s essay in Dovetail, 2020, p. 210)
His works take the form of bold murals, installations, sculptures and his signature Legends. These small painted wooden panels fuse formal traditions such as heraldic shields or illuminated manuscripts with an iconography culled from children’s books or digital logos. Avoiding didactic explanation, the Legends offer enigmatic clues to Bosmans’ thought process, while existing as artworks in their own right.
Mixing references from different periods and cultures as a way to tease out their similarities, he highlights our commonality at a time of increasing polarisation. Running like a pink thread through the exhibition are references to queer culture. This takes various forms, for example the suggestively titled Boy Butter, which refers to family stories of butter smuggling while also hinting at sexual activity.
“He is the kind of figure you would wish for as a history teacher, able to carry you along on the strength of his storytelling”
Zoë Gray (Dovetail, 2020, p. 215)
This exhibition is preceded by Bosmans’ first monograph, titled Dovetail, co-published by WIELS with Walther König (2020). Designed by Nerijus Rimkus, it features images of Bosmans’ exhibitions from 2014 to 2020 and several texts: an essay by WIELS senior curator Zoë Gray, an interview with the artist by Martin Germann, and texts by Philip Van Den Bossche, Piero Bisello and Julia Mullié, the book’s editor.
Curator: Zoë Gray