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Two identical marble plinths were used for the work 'Sculpture' by the Belgian artist Didier Vermeiren. One is placed standing on the floor, while the other is placed upside down on the first plinth. In terms of shape and material, the plinths look traditional and Vermeiren often uses a plinth as the starting point for his work. This can vary from a classical, richly decorated example, to a modern plain plinth. Using these plinths he makes sculptures which often consist of two elements placed on top of each other. They may be two identical plinths, but could also be a cast plinth and the mould in which it was made. Vermeiren’s sculptures are never presented on a plinth.
In his work he refers both to classical and modern sculpture. A classical sculpture consists of an enclosed volume, and the maker of a classical work is not explicitly concerned with the relationship between the sculpture and the environment. The sculpture stands by itself, while the plinth on which it is presented emphasizes this isolation. The plinth disappears in modern sculpture and the artist actually strives to break down the idea of a sculpture as an object on its own, and is consciously concerned with the relationship between the sculpture and the environment. The sculpture as a reflection of something in reality no longer plays the main role. Abstract concepts such as weight, size, material, open and closed shapes are tackled independently. Questions related to the making and operation of a sculpture can also be the subject of the work.
Vermeiren is a classical sculptor in the way in which he emphasizes a sculpture as something that stands on its own and in his work the object is clearly outlined. His sculptures explicitly refer to the place they take up on the floor, but they do not represent anything. The images of the plinth refer to existing plinths, but they are merely platforms for representative images. By placing one plinth on another, Vermeiren draws attention to the place of the sculpture without presenting one in the classical sense. He removes the division between the plinth and the sculpture and between classical and abstract sculpture. For him, a sculpture is any object with a presence.
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