Masterpieces | Moderation versus Excess
Such a fragile pyramid…
Patrick van Caeckenbergh is fascinated by the digestive process. For him, the main organ is not the brain then, but the stomach, which burns food to produce energy and allow humans to move, express themselves and think. In this house of cards, the stomach is not depicted - it is invisible; a virtual and imperceptible core keeping this pyramid balanced. For if you look through the cards of the rows of columns, the pyramid will seem hollow, empty. And yet, at the top of the showpiece, slight openings indicate the beginning of this long digestive process that will bring about a selection. On the one hand, nutrients will fuel the body, and on the other, junk will become waste, materialised here by the balls attracting repulsive insects. They are positioned on the table top where a game has been laid, symbolising chance and misfortune and thereby highlighting the mysteries inherent in the sorting mechanism.
The presence of the fool, a recurring figure in Flemish painting (and which looks very much like a joker here), draws our attention to the precariousness of the installation (formed from a stack of cards, card and thin wooden sticks) and beyond that to the disorders that threaten a balanced diet. You only have to eat more than you should or choose the wrong foods and everything comes tumbling down. A healthy diet is therefore a prerequisite for giving this pyramid a firm foundation and, by extension, for Man’s existence.