Lebuïn D'Haese's 'Yo No Soy Dios' (I'm Not God)

Photo by Katie David
Photo by Katie David

Belgian sculptor Lebuïn D'Haese immediately stands apart with his provocatively titled exhibit "Yo No Soy Dios" (I'm Not God). D'Haese explained that the title, "…refers to man who should be more humble." The title piece was a delicate orchestra conductor crafted from bronze, his head and baton raised high. The artist reflected, "…parece que el hombre se comporta como un dios en este mundo y que se olvida de los errores que el comete" (It seems as though man behaves as a god in this world and forgets the errors he commits). This reminder of consequence and humility faced viewers at the Cecilia Palma Gallery, as they held cold bottles of Crystal beer taken from the booth outside.

Photo by Katie David
Photo by Katie David

Guests milled around the small, warmly-lit space, contemplating the figures in a hushed ambiance. In one corner, "Fly Away" a female with markings and colored patches on her torso, supports three birds on each wide spread arm. Her intriguing form fittingly graced the exhibit's April invitation. Several works emphasized hidden or exposed faces. In "Mirando el Cuadrado", a bronze girl peered through a square which framed her features. In a variety of colors, many faces revealed sincere, angelic expressions. The well-crafted figures invited the viewer to contemplate man's unique struggles with conformity, rebellion, patience and hope.

Other characters held objects or props, such as the fisherman with his giant catch in "El Pescador Suena con Pescado" (The fisherman dreams with fish). A man swung his feet sitting on a platform of a big foot in "A Donde Me Voy" (Where am I going). D'Haese's works deal with social and cultural themes, envisioning each character with a personal narrative. These are not dramatic epics, but "…the stories with which we are faced every day," he said. The sculptor believes that his pieces engage with the spectator in a simple, straight-forward way and invite them to self-reflect.

Photo by Katie David
Photo by Katie David

The gallery displayed twenty pieces in small and medium format, some of which the artist had created only a few months ago in Isla Negra. Various sculptures are related to the sea and to the life aquatic. When asked about the influence that the location had on his work, D'Haese cited the incredible experience of working in front of the Pacific Ocean, and the challenge it presented: "…to be working fifteen days facing the ocean without having been bothered or interrupted. To be working in this manner, one finds oneself." He also named Chilean poetry, especially Pablo Neruda, as a strong influence. He and Chile worked in exchange, he believes: "I have not only given something to Chile, but I'm convinced that I have received a lot."

Galeria Cecilia Palma offers fine art in a cozy atmosphere, so be sure not to miss their future exhibits. The next one, Isabel Klotz's "30kmxseg," opened on May 10th 2011 and focuses on installation and photography.

Galeria de Arte Cecilia Palma
2812 Alonso de Cordova, Vitacura
Monday-Friday 10am-8pm, Sat 11am-2pm
Metro: Vitacura
www.ceciliapalma.cl

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