About

ARTIST STATEMENT

Leon de Bruijne (The Netherlands, 1992) is an Amsterdam based artist who makes kinetic installations and performances. By using mechanics ordinary objects are set in motion creating strange and absurd situations. The works present a playful encounter with daily life. Yet easy to comprehend, the installations’ second layer ask for further investigation. His machines vary from being very explosive and destructive to being rather repetitive to ones that seem to run patiently into eternity. As an effect ‘time’ has automatically become an important theme, next to erosion, slapstick and absurdism. De Bruijne studied at the Amsterdam University of Arts (2009-2014). After 3 years of working solo and collaborating with others artists and designers, he decided to do a Master in Fine Arts at KASK, Ghent (2017-2019). Since 2014 de Bruijne’s work has been regularly yearly at Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven. He worked in commission for Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam (2015) and Het Zuiderzeemuseum, Enkhuizen (2017) and joined group exhibitions at W139, Amsterdam (2016), The Urban Campsite, Amsterdam (2017), Nightshift Beursschouwburg, Brussels (2018) and Antwerp (2019). De Bruijne has been working as a guest teacher at the Breitner Academy (2017, 2019) and the Academy for Architecture (2017), Amsterdam. His self initiated project ‘Het Kerstboomkanon’ (2018), a performative installation in which used christmas trees are being shot with a self made canon, at a distance up to 64 meters, has been shown on different locations throughout the Netherlands.

TEXT

By Jules van den Langenberg for solo exhibition Modus.

Who wants to be Cinderella if you can be an ugly step sister
Roller shutter, penny-in-the-slot machine, steel construction. Steel canon, trees. Plastic chairs, plastic wrap, turning platform, steel construction, red button. Electromotor, waste chutes, bricks, steel construction. Electromotor, pneumatic cylinder, tiles, hoop, electronics, steel construction, red button. Fan, two blackboards. Trolleys. Conveyor belt, sandpaper, wooden chairs. Street lanterns, chair, boots, power drill. What might sound like the inventory of a garage is a listing of appropriated mundane products and tools by Dutch artist Leon de Bruijne (1992). A graduate of the Fine Arts department at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent, more importantly he is a maker that concentrates on trial and error processes since early childhood. A variety of mechanised sculptures the artist developed over the last six years are on view in the exhibition Modus hosted by the Kasseler Kunstverein. Each of the mundane-object-turned-sculpture works appropriates a recognisable product from Western daily life and has a hypnotising effect due to its kinetic nature. The artist was taught by his former tutor you can never use the word entertaining when you describe an artwork but despite so indulges us in a show of folly machines at first glance, autonomous art works at second. De Bruijne turns visitors into passive viewers. Every sculpture in the show provides a different level of satisfaction. Most of them are unsatisfying and addictive. They toy with our imagination as we join the hero’s journey (a Western commodity center staged in each sculpture) and end up getting stuck in a state of constantly crossing thresholds, rarely reaching the enjoyment of the happily every after.
The sculptures are perceived as cartoonish silhouettes due to their iconic shapes and colours, the exhibition space feels messy for a white cube. Machine sculptures are scattered across three rooms in the German exhibition venue, the show is like a construction site that just doesn’t want to reach final completion or like a paper collage that wants to keep its glue wet forever. Putting us in a mode of wondering if the exhibition build up is still ongoing and if the works are even done? Modus seduces our longing to feed our social media streams with behind the screen videos and failed attempts. It continues to raise questions and conversation about what determines a hobbyist from a professional or where does the technician end and the artist begin?
The human fascination for all things mechanic stems from our longing for ideal production. Ideal behaviour. We hardly notice the domestic violence between the electric current and the wiring happening inside a box on our walls. Is the finger or actually the light switch in charge of lighting up a room? De Bruijne instrumentalizes this type of banal humor and poetic violence which both share a transgressive nature: we laugh to overcome, we fight to overcome. These emotions are centre staged and made even more apparent by the institutional context in which they exist; the exhibition space during the winter holiday season that revolves around tying and untying personal relations. The artists’ search for novel ways of dramatising the mundane makes us perceive the sculptures and performances as technical and aesthetic figures. Stuck between the ordinary and the fairytale ending his works are tortured as they are repeatedly pulled back and forth between feeling like a kitchen utensil or seemingly random product one day, and a sculpture the next.

Jules van den Langenberg, 13 December 2019
This text is based on various conversation with the artist Leon de Bruijne and a visit to the exhibition Modus in Kasseler Kunstverein with students of the Kunsthochschule Kassel.

EDUCATION

2017-2019   
Master in Fine Arts, Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK),  Ghent, BE
2009-2014   
Bachelor in Fine Arts and Education, Amsterdam University of the Arts, NL

INTERNSHIPS

2019         
Internship at artist Zeger Reyers, NL
2014         
Internship at artist Zoro Feigl, NL

FUNDS

2020
My practice is currently funded by The Mondriaan Fund: Stipend for Emerging Artists.
2019         
Solo exhibition Modus was funded by The Mondriaan Fund: Grant International Presentations

TEACHING

2020         
Breitner Academy, Amsterdam University of the Arts, NL, teacher sculpture
2019         
Breitner Academy, Amsterdam University of the Arts, NL, lecturer/teacher
2017         
Academy of Architecture, Amsterdam University of the Arts, NL, guest teacher Morphology
2017         
Breitner Academy, Amsterdam University of the Arts, NL, guest lecturer/teacher

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2020        
Yart, Public space sculpture, Duivelsteen, Ghent, BE
2019         
Modus, Kasseler Kunstverein, Kassel, DE
2019         
MAP#87, Ghent, BE
2016         
Preview 10 Years Of Thomas Eyck, For Zuiderzee Museum, Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, NL

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

current      
Reservoir, 019, Ghent, BE
2020         
THIS ROAD SHOW, part of This Art Fair, NDSM, Amsterdam, NL
2020         
Unconventional Surroundings, Public space exhibition, Roeselare, BE
2020         
Enter Through The Void, Exit Through The Giftshop, Kunsthal Ghent, BE
2019         
NDSM nursery Square, NDSM, Amsterdam, NL
2019         
Night Shift: From dusk ’till dawn, De Studio, by Gouvernement, Antwerp, BE
2019         
Maintenance, In de Ruimte, Ghent, BE
2019         
STOCK#14 Akane Yorita & Leon de Bruijne, Ghent, BE
2019         
Curfew, Graduation Show KASK, Ghent, BE
2018         
Night Shift: From dusk ’till dawn, by Gouvernement, Beursschouwburg Brussel, BE
2018         
A different point of view is simply the view from a place where you’re not, Zwarte Zaal, Ghent, BE
2017         
10 Years Of Thomas Eyck, Zuiderzee Museum, Enkhuizen, NL
2017         
Urban Campsite, Shelter ‘Dakloos’, in collaboration with Floris Molenbeek, Amsterdam, NL
2017         
A self initiated exhibition with Willem van Doorn and Meesterkox, Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, NL
2017         
Performance ‘Kerstboomkanon’ in collaboration with Willem van Doorn, TU/e, Eindhoven, NL
2016         
XII, W139, Amsterdam, NL
2015         
Nederland Bouwt in Baksteen, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, NL
2015         
FC DDW, Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, NL
2014         
DEE-DEE-WEE-DOOM-PA-DI-DEE, Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, NL

THEATRE

2017         
‘Quick Sand’ was part of So You Think You Can Dada?!, by Veenfabriek, Leidse Schouwburg, 28-30 September 2017, Leiden, NL

COLLECTIONS

2020         
A residue (a single chair) + video registration of kinetic installation ‘Quick Sand’ is part of the Centraal Museum collection, Utrecht, NL
2019         
Kinetic sculpture ‘Play#1’ (2018) is part of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) collection, Ghent, BE

PUBLICATIONS

2020         
‘Remora’ (2019) is part of book publication ‘Overlap – The no man’s land Between art and science’ by de Jonge Academie, Authors: Ann Bessemans, Marjan Doom, Frank Merkx en Nele Wynants, 2020, BE
2020         
‘Quick Sand’ is part of book publication ‘Wicked Arts Assignments’ Authors: Emiel Heijnen & Melissa Bremmer, 2020, NL

TELEVISION

2019         
‘Kerstboomkanon’ was performed on live television for the show ‘Maintower’ at13-12-19, 18:00, Der Hessische Rundfunk, DE. https://www.hr-fernsehen.de/sendungen-a-z/maintower/sendungen/in-deckung—weihnachtsbaeume-werden-geschossen,video-109976.html
2018         
‘Kerstboomkanon’ was part of televisions show ‘Klaas kan Alles’ at 13-11-2019, 14:25, npo3, NL. https://www.zapp.nl/programmas/klaas-kan-alles/gemist/KN_1710246

Website by Roxanne Hellevoort