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Leo Vroegindeweij
Zoya Tommy Contemporary, Houston, Texas
by Donna Tennant

Leo Vroegindeweij, "Camel carrying an hour glass Without title," 2013, plastic, glass, sand, 17 x 29 x 13cm, edition of 10.

Continuing through December 7, 2013

With a combination of assemblage sculptures and inkjet wall pieces, Dutch artist Leo Vroegindeweij addresses the idea of change over time. “Mutatis Mutandis” is a Latin phrase that translates loosely to “only the necessary changes have been made.” Some of the materials comprising the sculptures – crushed rock, small chunks of white marble, large chain links – were scanned to create inkjet prints. This is apparent in a few pieces, but for the most part, the black-and-white prints are abstractions that convey a sense of movement, capturing the passing of time as the laser moves over the raw material, printing what it scans. One series of 12 prints depicts various stages of one scan.

Six of the floor sculptures are assembled using scale models of bulldozers, dump trucks, tractor-trailers, and other construction machinery. They are clever and funny – in one untitled piece, all that can be seen is the bucket of the backhoe sticking out of a mound of crushed rock that has engulfed it. In another, two blue and yellow dump trucks face off against one another. One is filled with white marble, while the other has been surrounded and immobilized by the same marble. In a third piece, the artist has joined two tractor trailers back to back and loaded them with heavy chain links to make it appear that they are competing to see which is stronger.

The most arresting pieces in the show, however, are the five small camels balancing large hourglasses filled with white sand on their backs. The concept of time is inherent not only in the archaic hourglasses but in the idea that these creatures, who can survive crossing huge expanses of desert, are being made to carry sand on their backs. All the pieces in the show, from the camels to the trucks to the prints, imply some sort of change as a result of time passing, whether it’s the camels walking, the trucks loading and carrying materials, or the scanner moving across the surface of various materials. The title of the show, "Mutatis Mutandis," conveys the idea of doing the least to obtain the most, meaning perhaps that Vroegindeweij only did that which he felt compelled to do.

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