Smoke gets in your eyes

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Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Paul Anka is one of the sugar-sweet songs Anton Cotteleer (b. 1974, lives and works in Kalmthout) occasionally plays from his jukebox. It is about the ambiguities of falling in love, or about a clouded perspective on life. This suggestive haze also shrouds Cotteleer’s works. Initially inspired by a Roman fresco of a woman looking into a mirror, he created a group of sculptures that are – more than ever in his oeuvre – attuned to each other. Together, they explore thoughts on human self-reflection, from a mirror to abstracted body parts.

Cotteleer is known for his colourful sculptures with a soft, matte texture. He uses electrostatic charges to apply the fibres on top of a layer of synthetic material. This soft skin and bright colours challenge classical expectations of sculpture. He usually rests his sculptures on a colourful piece of cloth, draped over a small table or stool, with the chrome legs of the furniture still visible. The textile provides a delicate theatrical element, but above all it lends the sculptures a more homely, accessible appearance.

Although Cotteleer has never used this medium before, the exhibition also features two bronze sculptures. During a workshop in China last year, he explored some contemporary possibilities of one of sculpture’s most classical materials; an experiment which he is now continuing to pursue. The two shining, small bronzes strikingly contrast his larger, matte sculptures. Yet even here, pinkish painted fragments disrupt historical references to the bronze.

Tamara Beheydt