For Erik Thys, the ground floor at Objectif Exhibitions is “a grey garage, a cave within the cave, where a broad river of grey mud flows slowly but inexorably.” He calls it Golem Garage. It’s a solo exhibition of drawing and sculpture, sound and smell.
Yet a brain is grey too, and inside the brain, “everything is basically the same,” according to Thys. “Anxiety, obsession, alienation and despair can take any shape, even the shape of cars. Bumpers, wheels and windshields substantiate existential fear in the most lucid, direct way. In the end, cars transform into sculptural scars.” Golem Garage bears witness to this mysterious cognitive process through the hundreds of strange drawings Thys pinned to a large, pleated curtain.
Thys draws incessantly, but if his drawings resemble inscrutably biomorphic concept cars, they are in fact always something of another order—characters, characteristics, caricatured projections of nervous systems or manically firing synapses, disassociation, lethargy, psychosis, and so on. And if the large modular sculptures Thys has cordoned off on the floor also resemble cars, they are part of that muddy grey river he mentioned (which is to say, behind the retina, they may just as easily be “reflections, shapes, intuitions, tastes, twists, fatigue, daydreaming, a detail, a preference, the colour of trousers, headaches, flashes, boredom, itching, love, yesterday, the sidewalk, a knock on the door, wine, texting, a tight shoe, a skeptical eye, a sharp angle, spots, voices, shadows, next Wednesday, humidity, hahaha, paint, unforgettable pain, a smiley, a missed opportunity, hubcaps, a line, symmetry, that dirty bastard, a near-collision, a weary, worn seat, the invisible interior, chips, vagueness, a cloud vortex on Saturn, hair, Scottish Tartans, candle wax, disillusionment, sockets, anxiety, melons, a brown apron, wrinkles, false ceilings, a full bladder, astonished eyes, needles, carpet, foxes, concord, aspartame, rust, a wooden steering wheel, nausea, speed, ridges, a slope, black and white, a bookbag, disgust of life, a little jump, the sky, rubbing, beeping sounds, aluminum, bitterness, yellow, despair, cups, vibration, impossibility, a misty berm, hypocrisy, longing, a parking ticket, equality, Galileo, Maigret, kneading, quality, saliva, a cripple, suspicion, vultures, asceticism, turf. But also electroplating, soup, a creaky floor, plastic sheeting with a window, church organs, a hotel in 1970, a leather button, funk, Brazil, putty, garden furniture, hesitation, pleistocene, a silent table, Danny, shades, gamma rays, slime, to die, crayons, a goose, utopia, tutelary and chrome”).
Erik Thys (b. 1961, Wilrijk, Belgium; lives in Brussels) is an artist, composer, illustrator, musician, performer, and psychiatrist. Thys has exhibited and performed his work internationally at Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels (2014, 2011); Castillo/Corrales, Paris (2013); the Artist’s Institute, New York (2013); Antoniuskirche, Basel (2012); Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp (2012); Artissima, Turin, Italy (2009); Berlin Biennale (2008); Frac Le Plateau, Paris (2007); and many others.
Objectif Exhibitions would like to thank 019 in Ghent, for supporting this exhibition.