At least that's what he thought.
All this was actually a mirage...
Solo show - Liang Art Gallery - Taipei (Taïwan) June and July 2017.
The book « An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa,» (1704) by George Psalmanazar (1679-1763) is the project « Belief/Relief » starting point.
In this book, Psalmanazar claims to be the first person from Formosa, a country no one has visited yet. To give more credit to his claims, Psalmanazar wears alleged exotic clothing and invents strange traditions such as eating raw meat spiced with cardamom as a daily dish or sleeping on a chair. He also invents an alphabet, a grammar, a language and customs straight out of his imagination. This is the first known example of "built language". Thanks to this lie, Psalmanazar has known great success and travelled throughout Europe to tell his story.
Prints illustrate the book, one of them representing the alleged god of Formosa. According to Psalmanazar, the inhabitants of Formosa had to sacrifice 18,000 young boys to the priests who would eat their hearts. This illustration is the starting point of the Belief / Relief exhibition. On this print, only the face of this god is represented. Gabriel Desplanque decided to create the back version of this god by sculpting "a sectional view" at the entrance of the exhibition. The God back becoming the bridge with the fantasy world of the artist.
Gabriel Desplanque (1981) lives and work in taiwan since january 2017. He teaches at Tainan National University of the Arts. The art works are the results of his first semester work in Taiwan.
The exhibition is mostly focused on landscapes. The wild Taiwanese nature is a radical break with the Franch landscapes, domesticated for human needs. Few path go through Taiwanese forests, most of them being impenetrable.
The exhibition is an installation where several media offer a subjective and fantasy stroll through Formose, a mental space where scales and perceptions are distorted.