Last week I joined an evening hosted by the American Brussels Network at Harlan Levey Projects (HLP), a gallery in the Dansaert area, to see the works of Spanish-born artist Isaac Cordal. I first discovered Isaac’s unique form of sculpture back when I wrote a post about street art in Brussels. Although his miniature installations are set mostly in urban landscapes, they are much more than your average form of street art. Isaac sculpts small statues from clay, mainly businessmen, makes silicone molds of each, and finally casts them in cement. He then positions them alone or in groups to form powerful images he captures on film. The effect is moving, provocative and sad, with a touch of dark humor.
Isaac’s current exhibition at HLP is entitled ‘Prestige’, after the oil spill off the coast of Spain which polluted thousands of kilometers of coastline. The show includes new works and a full look at his project ‘Cement Eclipses: Small Interventions in the Big City’, which has been previously exhibited in public locations and art spaces around Europe. Isaac has recreated one of his installations from the series Waiting for Climate Change that portrays somber-faced men in suits with life preservers on the beach. I find it fascinating the way he manages for the figurines to appear life-size among the landscapes he photographs.
Isaac gave us a brief tour of the exhibition, explaining the concept behind his work and the political and social commentary he hopes to convey. Works include a family sitting on a sofa each individually immersed in a mobile device, a group of stockbrokers on the verge of falling off a cliff and my favorite, a lone man sitting in the corner looking down a hole in the floor (be sure to look for him as he’s easy to miss!). There is also a screen showing several of Isaac’s previous works in cities including Brussels, London, Berlin, Riga, Zagreb, Malaga, Vienna and Barcelona.
The exhibition opened back in November and has been extended to 9 January 2013. Many of the works, including prints of many of Isaac’s previous photos, are for sale at the gallery (priced under €100). You can also purchase a copy of his book Cement Eclipses, a great collection of photos from the series (€20). If you’re interested to check out more of Isaac’s work, see the Street Art Belgium page on him or read this Agenda Magazine article.
The HLP gallery is run by American Harlan who works with a small selection of contemporary artists to hold solo and group exhibitions, performances and workshops. HLP also participates in other activities including local events like Downtown Gallery Days, lectures and an annual exhibition with The United Nations. See more about upcoming events on the website.
37 Rue Léon Lepage, 1000 Brussels
Open: Wednesday to Sunday, 1-7pm and by appointment
Images via Street Art London and Agenda Magazine.