° Lier, Belgium 1977
lives and works in Antwerp — Belgium
Wesley Meuris participated at Coup de Ville 2010. This text was published in the catalogue.
In the garden of the Waasland Shopping Centre, Wesley Meuris installs an open and accessible platform in which he incorporates a kiosk. Due to its design, this construction fits in well with the orient-inspired architecture of the shopping centre. In creating his installation, Meuris essentially drew inspiration from The land of cockaigne (1567) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The old master reproduces a tempting but often false dreamland with roast geese that fly into your mouth by themselves. It is a tempting mock performances in which Bruegel illustrates an unrealistic carefree life. Shopping centres are in a certain way a modern variant of this old vision, says Meuris. This also explains the title of his work: Consumers garden.
In his installation, Wesley Meuris researches the artificiality of the shopping centre. The artist does this, for exemple, by using artificial grass that he plants near the plantation. More than is the case with nature, the fluorescent green colour of the grass fits in with the marketing strategy in order to attract the consumers' attention.
The horizontality of the green platform is broken by the integration of a kiosk. Originally summerized as an open garden pavilion and later also as a music stage, the kiosk is today getting a more commercial interpretation. The underlying idea of the general standardization and the overlapping of functions in various institutions is important to Meuris. Just as art is presented in many shopping centres, most museums today also have locations for selling art. The artist thus asks the question as to how liveable a specific or a divergent identity can be in a comsumption-driven society.