Valérie Mannaerts explores the physiognomic qualities of things, questioning the relation between organic and inorganic forms, the presence and autonomy of objects as well as the sedimented histories inscribed in them. With diverse materials she creates hybrid, contradictory and precarious forms that are at once open to chance and formally circumscribed. Her work explores the borderline between image and object, reminiscent of surrealist and later feminist pre-occupations with material and image culture, corporeality and states of consciousness. The works in Mannaerts’ aesthetic universe equally exist in conflictual registers and simultaneously, suspending the distinction between essence and appearance, constructed artifice and natural form into dynamic relations. This is expressed through a play with scales and scapes, layers, patterns and distorted dimensions, folding and arresting the flow of time in one moment, giving away to imaginary flights in the other. Between defined and undefined form, proximity and distance, the strange and familiar, there emerges a morphology to which the work of Mannaerts gives a unique and idiosyncratic articulation.
Valérie Mannaerts (1974) lives and works in Brussels. She was artist in residence at the ISCP New York (2008) and at De Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (2007). Recent solo exhibitions include Unrehearsed Conversation, Bernier/Eliades Brussels (2021), Real Somethings, Bernier/Eliades Gallary Brussels (2017), Real if I want to, Elisa Platteau Galerie, Brussels (2014); Orlando, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussel (2013); Bernier/Eliades Gallery, Athens (2013); Diamond Dancer, de Appel, Amsterdam (2011); Blood Flow, Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp (2010). She recently participated in group exhibitions such as Round about or Inside, Griffith University Art Museum, Brisbane (2021); De Eerste Parade, Canadasquare, Knokke (2021); Inner Spaces, Biennale voor de Schilderkunst, Roger Raveelmuseum (2020); Vergeten Vrouwen, Forgotten Women, Cera, Leuven (2020); Convex/Concave: Belgian Contemporary Art, TANK, Shanghai (2019);
What is Ornament? Lisbon Architecture Triennale 2019, Lisbon; Family Fiction, Extra City, Antwerp (2019); Sculpture Park Domestica, Institut de Carton, Brussels (2019); Women. Underexposed, Belfius Art Collection, Brussels (2019); Body Language, M-Museum, Leuven (2019); Look at me, Argos Centre for Arts and Media, Brussels (2019); Curtain Call, IFFR Kunsthalle Rotterdam (2018); Plain/Purl, Designmuseum, Ghent (2017); Solid Liquids, Kunsthalle Münster (2016); Everything Architecture, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels and Arc en Rêves Bordeaux (2016); Words aren’t the Thing, CAC, Vilnius (2015); The Corner Show, Extra City, Antwerp (2015); Vibrant Matter, Kiosk, Ghent (2015); Le musée des erreurs: Art contemporain et lutte des classes, Wiels, Brussels (2015); Small Museum for the American Metaphor, RedCat Gallery, Los Angeles (2014).
In 2016, Robbrecht en Daem Architecten invited Valérie Mannaerts to realize an artwork for the interior of BOZAR’s Café Victor, designed by the architects. Pleasure in Making, a three hand-embroidered curtain, is permanently on view at Brussels’ renowed Centre for Fine Arts.