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Lustrum | Martin Declève | 12 June to 9 July 2021                                                                                               PRESS

Lustrum presents a cycle of square, large-format photographs of magnificent doors of Italian Baroque churches by the Belgian artist Martin Declève. The cycle originates in Carlo Scarpa’s last project realized only after his death: A water feature consisting of a stone threshold and door frame topped by a broken circular pediment, in the middle of a small garden of the Tolentini monastery in Venice. This Baroque ensemble was found buried in the ground during the first restoration work on the monastery, and is now lying flat on the ground, overturned, as if it had just been returned to the surface.

The show’s title, Lustrum, refers to a purification rite that, based on a Greek etymology, was long thought to be related to the use of water. The rite, however, consisted of a procession carried out at dawn, and following the direction of the sun. It therefore appears today that the word, Lustrum, is rather of Latin origin and derives from the very name of light, lux.

Martin Declève's cycle of black and white photographs quotes Scarpa’s simple architectural gesture applying at the same time a work protocol that, as the Lustrum rite, follows an early morning procedure. Aimed at capturing the slow progression of the light of dawn in an empty sky, the cycle shows these monumental doors from an extremely steep angle. The photographs are literally overturning. It is not just the doors that are flattened, it is the viewer. He becomes a Johnny Look-in-the-Air gazing in the heavens on the upper half of the photographs with on the lower half these magnificent doors. Lustrum transports the viewer into some sort of physically experienced vertigo, a delightful dizziness. And please beware: Don’t fall into the water.        

Opening on 12 June from 6 pm | Covid 19 restrictions, if any, apply.

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