The work Annunciation engages both artist and viewer – be it a gallery owner, museum director or collector – in a game of loss and being lost.
This curious looking puzzle is the result of a complex, four-part process that departs from historical paintings of the Annunciation by famous masters such as Gerard David (1455-1523), Robert Campin (1378-1444), Hans Memling (1440-1494) and Friedrich Herlin (1425-1500)... Deprez begins by making black and white life-size copies of the paintings, which he then inverts. He subsequently obscures various areas of the painting with multiple layers of white titanium paint. In so doing, he denudes these icons of their historical and cultural significance and reduces the forms within them to silenced shapes. The unpainted areas are subsequently gilded. The shimmering, abstract fragments form a wholly new composition in their own right. Underneath the gold leaf, which can easily be scratched away, Deprez hides a few pertinent details about the original painting and a set of coordinates for a place where an engraved copy of the original fragment can be found.
Annunciation is a story of absence. The presence of the work in the museum merely refers to the real work, which has been hidden by a third, ignorant party. Whoever purchases Annunciation can only appropriate the idea of a work, therefore, unless he or she engages in a massive search operation. As the coordinates do not, however, provide an accurate plan of action, the intangible purchase triggers an unknowable journey.