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Exhibition Details


Galerie Philia is happy to announce the first solo show of Mark Sturkenboom in the inaugural edition of Stage Bregenz Contemporary Fair, set in the lakeside city between the border of Switzerland and Germany. Bringing together brand-new and never-seen-before works of Sturkenboom from the last few years of his career, this show offers a glimpse into his futurist romantic approach that oscillates between the transient nature of happiness, and the idea of things going wrong. All works are marked with the seal of impossibility; to love, to move around, what it means to live and to die. The idea of being trapped in power relations.
For example, with his series of mouth-blown and handcrafted exquisite glass bottles Love Potion, Sturkenboom underlines the idea of an elixir as an ultimate shot of endorphins. The works visualize the art of craving and waiting as they stand on the verge of eruption. “Romantic timepieces” as the artist calls them, illuminate the invisible desire that has the potential to enslave. With his latest body of work Love Factory, Sturkenboom exhibits his workstations where the hard labor that goes into creating the love potions becomes tactile. Within all his work, Sturkenboom communicates on a metaphorical level. Referring to the ideology of Seppuku in Japanese culture, the dagger titled Venus’ Chariot is a brand new work in Sturkenboom’s universe. It reflects on ideas of honour, guilt, and bravery, Sturkenboom’s glass dagger adopts the Japanese philosophy of the honourable thus a beautiful way of ceasing one’s life.
Saluting the well-known story of the naked king, the vessel works titled The Emperor’s Breath, holds simply an idea, a perception of power. Just like how the power of the emperor does not come from his clothes, but his stature, how he carries his nakedness even after understanding he was fooled, the works reference the invisibility or validity of an idea. One of the idiosyncratic pieces in the exhibition is titled Sweet Anticipation. A mousetrap consists of mouth-blown and glass-engraved components, designed to change the arrival of the unwanted guest into the arrival of the long-awaited. With this object that waits to be lived in, one can domesticate a wild intruder and force him or her to become one’s companion. Of course, it provides the mouse with a safe place to stay, water, and food at hand, but more importantly, it changes the viewer’s attitude. The owner of this trap will inevitably wake up one morning with the strong wish that his or her mouse trap will no longer be empty.
Playing with these ideas of captivity, power, and desire, Sturkenboom paints a conceptual universe, inviting the audience to reflect on these ideas through beautifully created sculptures. In the words of Professor Adam Grinovich, “Sturkenboom organizes an impossible ephemera, weaves together histories, and composites the living memory with the permanence of genuine mediums. He offers the everlasting object, the coalesced memory, balanced with the fragility of human experience. Managing to balance a visual cadence between the absurd and a sharp sense of humour.”

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