The Wedge

“Defined as one of six simple machines, the wedge can be seen as a building block of which all complex machines are composed. It can plug, level or splice. It can lift, cut or hold an object in place. Not only does the wedge represent the most elementary aspects of all human technologies, it also embodies the connection between the natural and the cultural. An essential shape that occurs spontaneously in nature— as rocks, ice, roots or grains of sand as they erode the landscape — has been abstracted by the human gaze over time. It is put to use, streamlined, industrialized. But even in the most precise of environments, the wedge can symbolize the primordial, intuitive side of technology, holding open the doors that would otherwise automatically close, setting a standardized table straight on the cobblestones, preventing a truck from rolling down an unpredictable hill: the simple machine that might as well be a rock.  


Liesbet Grupping seizes The Wedge as an opportunity to examine a recurring theme in her work: the landscape. Her work process oscillates between apparatus and intervention, analysis and synthesis, action and acquiescence. She frames The Wedge as the experience of the landscape, and photography as the technological extension of that experience. The inertia of a mountain hides the forces that shape it, the wedges that pry and wring over the millennia, the natural erosion. By capturing and delineating the temporality of our surroundings in relation to our own, limited means of observation, The Wedge becomes not only a physical object carrying physical dispositions, but a mental separation between that which is human time, and that which is natural.  […]

excerpt of the exhibition text: The Wedge, Lodewijk Heylen and Liesbet Grupping, Violet, Antwerp, Belgium, 2023

The slide projection The Wedge is part of the ongoing series Reading of my work.

With the support of Flanders State of the Art