vrijdag 7 december 2018

Shards/slivers/smithereens

The once proud factory that laid the foundation for a whole town - La Louvière – has all but disappeared, and in it’s place a newly designed commercial zone attempting to replace some of the lost livelihoods... as a small retribution to the once mighty Faïencerie Royal de Boch & Fréres a pottery museum has been installed in the only remaining building, housing the old kilns... an a sumptuous collection of their production, albeit not as extensive as it might have been... it’s a pity that the town that owes its existence didn’t see fit to keep more of it’s heritage, perhaps link it to a wider cultural background (Anna Boch, member of Les XX and ‘La Libre Esthétique ’ was the only one to buy a Van Gogh painting during his lifetime) 


Just outside the museum, broken terrain where once vast halls of ceramics stood... 
Here, in another one of her intriguing projects, Anne Mortiaux had been quietly scraping away dirt in a combination of archeological dig, wild public/urban garden, landscape installation and artistic as well as social investigation. All through the summer she had been scouring the grounds for remains of a once glorious past together with local kids and residents from around the site as well as former employees, who, not only could help in identifying the fragments unearthed, but add their own stories to the whole affair as well as give is all an important context: It was an affair because as so often, this wonderful piece of history – no only local – was in fact mismanaged and victim of short sighted greediness... 
as often is the case. 




Suffice to say that bad management let things slide, and by the time the factory expanded into functional ceramics (loo’s & washbasins) in the seventies, it was already too late, and lackluster vision and updating production created an untenable situation in which only a handful of workers were left to defend the honor of the great Boch name in a dilapidated ruin... Workers who would give their all to save the place, but confronted with owners that would not shoulder the debt even though they could have done easily... striking to no avail, a last flicker of hope when a last-minute takeover seemed to breathe life into the remains only to find out that they had been had and the whole thing was just a phantom transaction... 
















pictures of protest and resistance by former employees as part of the presentation








I remember passing the site and being amazed that city, state and government could let this all happen... various artists wandered through the halls, taking picture of the stacks of half-finished ceramics, just waiting for a glimpse of hope... but vandalism and decay soon took over and no-one was interested... these were the days when larger, more viable factories were laying off thousands and moving to low-wage countries... nobody gave a hoot for a 40-odd crew of die-hards... but they kept going until last...

This is also a story being told in the workshops that Anne Mortiaux has created... on the one hand a playful replica of the processes in making ceramics, with children enjoying all the different hands-on stages of production, working clay, decoration, sorting and comparing, setting out schematic production lines... while at the same time immersing the whole thing in history – the history of the illustrious factory, to be sure, but also the history of the syndic battle, the social  & personal impact on lives & livelihoods... for that seems to be an aspect that has not yet been demonstrated on a wider scale – especially not in the museum (up till now) – perhaps understandably, being not such a happy episode... but this project could present itself as a prototype for a way to present this ugly aspect in the most sympathetic way possible, and help future generations to perhaps avoid the disastrous demise of an otherwise perfectly viable business...

There will be a further series of diggings & investigations during the next year when the weather permits, so keep an eye out: plans are taking shape to build up the area soon.

See the site of Keramis, La Louviere
















photos begin and end LL

vrijdag 23 november 2018

Under-grounded Spinoza Maulwurf

Notes from the Underground
Or rather letters from the rat hole, (Maulwurf)*.

Djos/Gouvernement 
Bonnefanten/Bonn (flanneur/ende-gelände)


I had promised myself to certainly go and see the other part of the ‘reciprocity’ double bill Sart-Tilman (Liège) and Gouvernement (Maastricht) Vortex-Cortex by Djos Janssens... just a few days to go but I made it and it was worthwhile. The Gouvernement itself is another one of those design statements which on the one hand seem reasonable but on the other quite an infringement, if not to say onslaught on the surroundings... Somewhere between brutish industrial landscape integrated reminiscent of bygone town fortifications it sits on a pleasant part of the river once lambasted by industry... Bonnefanten a stone’s throw away.
It’s a government building and Djos Janssens uses the existing flavor of a discreet design welcome hall to separate (temporary isolation he calls it) out a few elements: chair, view, ambient colour. Wooden walls enclose a short green corridor to the plate glass window – modified by green film save for two eye-holes and a text by Baruch de Spinoza (Ethica I presume, but would have to check) – it works: mesmerized by the weeping willows on the waters edge, considering what Baruch said, and screwing one’s eyeballs to the plate glass window to compare natural and green beauty – while on the other side a soundtrack is offered along with a slightly less endearing view... but all the same perfect pitch to get away from the office even if only for a little bit... 

Het behoord tot de aard der rede
Om dingen in een ander opzicht
Te beschouwen uit het gezichtspunt der eeuwigheid

Immers naar mate een beeld
Met meer dingen verbonden is
Zullen er ook meer oorzaken zijn waardoor
Het kan worden opgewekt...



In Dutch... even though they like to bandy French around in these parts (Ceramique wijk, where porcelain once reigned...) The English commentary on the outside of the crate-structures were perhaps a bit too... could have been discreetly added like shipping info instead of big block letters... seen as normally Djos likes to include nearly unreadable text... and confounding at that; but one does not see them immediately, which is a good thing.

It works well, and in fact it is quite essential to view both parts of Vortex-Cortex to bring home the constant oscillation between the headstrong willingness and defeatist enjoyment of pondering a simple thing such as the river going by or a cloud. We are confront ourselves with the irritating tendency to undermine our own integrity...

Speaking of which: (quick liberal translation texts: it pertains to the way of reason to view things in a different point of view from eternity.... and   for to which measure an image is connected with more things, more causes can be conjured...)






Onward then to the east, where they were destroying the remnants of a historical forest in order to dig coal... halfway to Bonn, where I had to be... but this time I didn’t go into the museum (as I didn’t to the Bonnefanten (couvent des bonnes enfants) either – since the David Lynch exhibition (SoMeOne in My House) was not until the week after... and in Bonn the only show that sort of intrigued was the Flanneur – but I was doing enough of that myself... so I found myself staring into the abyss at Niederzier/Altdorf, near Oberzier where I used to enjoy a ride through the forest on my way to Bonn... a couple of years back I was involved with some fringe activities to COP21, big meet where people talk about saving the planet but don’t... and at the time (Ende Gelände) thought they would never get that far... The idea of shutting down nuclear power stations- in itself commendable- to fire up old coal plats is idiotic... more so, the Chinese are now marketing their old technology with great success... Serbia for example... we are going backwards and I don’t get it any more... So here are the Germans, with Die Grünen in tow, destroying age old forest & habitat to dig up Braunkohle, the dirtiest coal you can find, to offset shortfall by nuclear exit... talk about undermining...

ende Gelände, not as proposed an end to open cast coal mining,
but an end to the green leafy habitat which protesters tried to save...







                                                                                  extrem Maulwurf


































Popgo advertisemant /Maulwurf
Yes on a lighter note I could not help seeing Denis Tyfuss’ss exhibition at Middelheim as a sort of secret strip-mining activity... The massed flocked to see the snot-nose aesthetics of an aleatory combination of yuk-yuk and rumpled noses... while he ups the finger in the general direction of a hand-wringing public claiming to find his work wonderful, beautiful, fun and deep, he shoots tennis balls at his own and friends counterfeit locked in gravel and adorned with Rasta goldilocks... has people pay to produce their own booklets and blow hot air into commercially available advertising irritation, resulting in a dance macabre everyone finds well found... 

























Sitting on a park bench (with advertisement) watching the punters excitedly scurry about I noticed a slight movement in the leaves... and after a while saw the mole hill grow, all the while the park was full of fools that never saw a thing... I thought of the bravery of such a mole, (Maul Wurf, jette-geule (taupe) or throw-gob)  digging away blind in the dark risking to be squashed at any minute by an unconcerned foot above... Thinking that is what Dennis is doing, burrowing right through the artworld and it’s affectations without a care in the world... that is a rarity nowadays...



Promissory notes / Copers sokkel
As is Leo Copers’ uncompromising intervention on the empty plinth in the city park... here too avoiding the pitfall to produce something to go on it: just a note to say, well, back in a tick, gone fishing or whatever... and keeping it going, for it has now been quite a while that I have seen various post-its... surmising it is not he himself posting them, and can imagine not even someone with the brief to do so, but just anyone too... which undermines authorship, authenticity and authority all at the same time...
Quite a bit of digging going on lately!


(* seems Nabakov reminds us that the translation of Dostoyevsky’s novella is wrong, and should refer to letters under the floorboards, somewhere near the mouse-hole entrance to some underground labyrinth to be sure, but not mentioned specifically)

dinsdag 23 oktober 2018

ConstructionSight

Buildings... we’ve got lots of them, all sorts, but many ugly ones... some interesting, but alas most still very inefficient and wasteful... That is the point of departure for a new look at what we build... ‘You Are Here’ ... an exhibition workspace investigation, part of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, using the defunct WTC in Brussels as a urban debate platform workspace exhibition – World Trade Center becomes World Transformation Center... clock is ticking... 
Radical changes in out attitudes and actual re/conversion need to be in place by 2030. That is the proposed scheme: time for talking has run out. Wandering about in the stripped WTC building (I had been there before in a fiscal matter years ago) it felt incredibly dated, dark, dank thick thinking... heavy... A dinosaur from a bygone age, now host to a number of interesting and light-footed interventions, conferences, meeting, try-outs and such... Looking out the window at the buildings being built all around I am convinced that this sort of discussion is absolutely necessary.



Within this context the apparition of a space within a space – Remake 1:1 – Johan Van Geluwe / Art Recycling Terminal (ART of MOM). He had a scheduled exhibition in Reclclart, Kapellekerk station, torpedoed by the powers that be, and so, as part of this exercise in rethinking our urban spaces, translated the whole thing to a floor in the WTC, sitting as it were in front of this reconstituted gallery as an objet perdu in the once hallowed halls of a major bank that folded with the famous flop-crash of 2008, taking with it the savings of many an unwitting citizen who thought the government would help them rather than international speculators... 
Now standing next the vault of said bank, heavy doors wide open to access an empty chamber with only the remnants of a wall-sized poster of some imaginary vacation island one might escape to with all the bullion that may or may not have been stashed here... (imaginary reserves?) and reminding me of the palm-tree idyll Johan Van Geluwe created at Waregem Library for an 80th birthday show... a step up from the more modest ‘hofjes van eden’ which locals liked to adorn their meager properties with.... Brutal brutism has overtaken us and history and with newly-emptied pockets we have to find a way to offset the vicious profit-taking that renders art like this homeless... Recyclart has not permanent address, it needs to find a new space every time – at least for the moment... but this is already a good raised finger to the powers that be: mobility in every sense will render the old constructions useless and ineffective...


We need to go live & organic, move with the elements and become part of them rather than try to dominate them and break them and squash and maim and tame...



Another curiosity that comes to mind here is the ‘Vortex-Cortex’ parallax view Djos Janssen created for Reciprocity design Liege (in fact two venues: “Temporary Isolation 1&2”, at Maastricht (Gouvernement) and Sart-Tilman (musee en Plein Air U.Liège) the theme being “fragilitas”... With his relatively unobtrusive interventions Djos Janssen has again been able to balance his own personal style with the surroundings – in this case quite challenging: defunct brutism once the pinnacle of contemporary architecture, now still barely functional and a curiosity in it’s own right: a labyrinthine structure with relatively few windows and natural light, but interesting spaces and sympathetic materials... and to a degree, at least for those times, an ecological attitude and outlook... (though proposed green roofs were never realized, and time has taken it’s toll on various elements, the basic set up is one that tries to harmonize with the nature around it – not being able to foresee the exponential growth the university would encounter and the feeble transport infrastructure – making again cars & carparks a major feature of the once green campus up on the hill.


‘Vortex Cortex’ addresses some of this sliding mentality, being at the same time adherent to head and heart, both similarly under construction, modification, adjustment... On the one hand a darkened video-room with endless driving text, mesmerizing stream of thought/consciousness type of pattern – (seen at La Lettre Volee) and a bright, analytical room with but two chairs, circular reflective fragmentations of icebergs calving, like his ‘Chantier d l’utopie’ (homage a ES) the hard-hat aesthetics are offset by the soft approach suspended between intellect and feeling, doubt of self, the position of self, the impact and effect – edging even towards the paranoid and referring to one’s own thought as electroshock: “slowly and violently memories come and go in my shocked head...” with the remnant of an archaic distribution panel as ‘trouvé’ conduit-piece. The texts oscillate to enhance the doubt, juxtaposing the extremities we experience and try to remedy constantly, conundrums, yes tending toward the bipolar.
Here too, the good intentions clash with hard reality, as the surroundings in which the need for a streamlined educational environment must cater for the free thought and consideration, conversation and meditation needed to be able to create new concepts... a park as well as parking, sculptures as well as benches and forum for discussions, the ancient amphitheatre reinterpreted as part of the global plan of the campus: some things work, others don’t, and even with a bachelor in applied theory still not clear why.


A fragile exercise that needs to be approached with some spare time, which alas we sort of ran short of due to getting lost in the expansive campus (google had directed us to the veterinary college as being the open air museum) – goes to show that a trust in newfangled technologies does not always further your cause or understanding... if ever...

And we have only seen half of it: the other half in Maastricht is only open to the public on weekdays... another fifty-fifty challenge aspect to be mentioned... one can not view this exhibition fully in a weekend.

dinsdag 28 augustus 2018

Parallax P/rops /position



We got there just in time. When we entered the Nucleo in Ghent we saw that there was a performance by Karin Vyncke beginning at three... so we rushed the doors and were admitted just in the nick of time. It was a silent chamber-piece, well, literal reading of objects and their changes, presented by the artist in a pair of dust-sleeves... in a library full of empty shelves. Table, chair, and written attributes on folded card. Still life, from fruity cornucopia to hunting scene to memento mori, vanitas, and back to tea-time... all whipped from a signatory folder with a certain theatrical flair, steps just short of dance, flowing though, so that the visual narrative was easy to follow. We were like children awaiting the next line in an exciting tale going nowhere... small comic notes, lots of room for interpretation and imagery in one’s own mind’s eye... but still her story: we had to follow, no matter how absurd or surreal, and in the end, it is she the dog squashed, we the pineapple turned pheasant... pool of water becoming blood.
























(the performer as a young dog- in fact, I couldn’t help thinking of a possible mute version of ‘Evelyn, the modified dog...’ (Hark! She said...)




Very good. Very glad we were able to be there. Special moment and just right in between the usual fare – neither here nor there, just skirting and leaning back before becoming one thing or the other, as mentioned not quite theatre, dance perf of tableau-vivante, panto and Bhutto, storyboard charades... very nice balancing act.

We could hear the calls though the door. We didn’t know what it was, but once outside the library we could see the two women balancing on their heels on their chairs and calling into the high ceiling... controlled howls. Stepping down they (Maria Degrève and Lieve D’hondt) would continue their own ways. A side room gave clues but no more... a version I had not yet encountered – the version I knew was the office version. This one more of an oracle, more mystery, more fitting to the venue...

You’d think they would go unnoticed but no: I knew them too well to pretend not to see them and walk past... especially since I came specially... ah to what purpose, that is the question. Ieke Trinks was doing nothing. She wasn’t participating, she wasn’t even really there, sort of absent-minded it seemed, in another world, sitting reading something completely unrelated... she even said she was doing nothing... I had asked “what have you been doing of late”, or currently or when’s the next whatever... noting... neither here nor there... But I was intrigued, having been on art-strike for a while now (... the second call by Stewart Home... too young for the first one by Metzger you know) and a virulent supporter of non-art... even though I have a feeble character and no self-discipline whatsoever... that’s why I find myself visiting these sorts of artistic venues... so I wanted to know... to find a kindred spirit, a good reason for being as I am... but alas, nothing, nope, nix – I called her refusenik, nihilist... but she didn’t mind... it didn’t seem to faze her at all to be excommunicated from the hallowed halls of corporate & corporeal art-doo... she just shook her head.

Frans van Lent on the other hand, was a man with a mission... what mission I still don’t know, but he’s very good at it: in this instance he packaged his nonconformist stance in a very conformist format: the book presentation. (the day before, by way of contribution, he had made a double/two video, showing himself and his other, being a video by some selected volunteer, so than now there were two videos unrelated but correlated, showing himself as being followed by a videàste, another of his own making, and exchanging between the takes cameras and such to have two closely unrelated videos, presenting side by side (in their respective adapters) two diverging videos made in separated tandem as it were... hmm – anything but parallel I would say, interweaving timeframe and direction of travel as to have double takes coinciding where in reality no interaction should take place. 



(Ieke T. refusing to have her portrait taken by shaking her head vigorously while Fransiscus v.L. just plain looks away... the ominous silhouette of the photographer apparent, while a dark cloud hangs over the scene)



In the same space as were the two umbrellas (brollies- I think that’s the plural – by Kimvi) serving as reference to Magritte’s rain-men dancing down from the clouds, or rather bowlers, since in fact René didn’t use that many brollies – but they do have that sewing machine connotation that can hazard anyone’s guess at that. I must admit I didn’t see them go up or down... so will have to use my imagination.













(FvL on his way to aid two visitors watching the two videos in the room with the two umbrellas...)



Sabine, who uses the seventies penchant for general minuscule writing of names oosterlynck (org) had a sale, or rather sale after sale, in which one has to re-price all the items in the store every time... in this case a flurry of stickers on one item: the artist herself... or serially sticking stickers prices-stickers that is, those little buggers that are conceived specially to not be removed by delinquent children or penny-pinching grandmothers... the one’s they like to slap on your priceless antique just on the very spot the varnish is at it’s most fragile, or the image on the cover of your vintage book most interesting... since they made it mechanical people can’t get enough of them... whatever happened to the good old price tag, one that would dangle freely, and could be snipped off in a jiffy...

Freddy K had a nice little (or rather large) pup tent going, one you could crawl into and participate in the goings-on in there... which I refrained from doing, but sort of liked the idea of being a mental voyeur considering all the things that might be going on behind the blankets suspended from walls and ceiling... straps and stuff... ooh, even clothes pegs if you know what I mean... and tied in exotic knots and things...

13 years of Hysteria was a bit of fun if it wasn’t your own lot: here you could give it a go in a distance fight: mechanical dolls manipulated by you and your partner so as to avoid real injury... quite an elaborate surrogate activity (the mechanics alone!) but quite effective... Stephanie Van de Velde (whom I haven’t seen for ages) and Joost Pauwaert did it, and they did it good... even though ‘her’ head came loose a bit too easy... but also easily knocked back with the help of an iron rod.















(surrogate punch-up as alternative to domestic violence... good idea and less of a burden on local policing)




Talk about shoe fetish! Johanna Van Overmeir seems to have it good, traveling all the way to Minsk (or was it St.Petersberg?) to saunter through the local flea market in search of the right pair of shoes to envelop in plastic and pour some gooey waxy stuff in them and exhibit them in a suitcase by the door... pilgrims progress arrested, belief suspended, family voyage interrupted.

Tone down the edge of an itchy stone was the title of a performance by Liesje van den berk which we missed but could see the remnants of sandpaper and brick/stone dust on the floor, writing as far as i could make out nowhere... and in the room right at back a chair and three snaps of a drooling mouth performance by Natalie Fyfe, who has already gone... but I must admit I was intrigued by the remnants of ‘nit by mouth’.

But back to Van Lent: rounding up proceedings somewhat with the aforementioned classic format of book presentation he explained and read aloud from the book i question, a compilation of reports from the ‘Parallel show’ series of interventions in museums all over... unnoticed or hardly noticed interventions which had caught my attention while trying to disappear during one of the unnoticed festivals (in Nijmegen, noticeably) – and, though I did not participate per sé, did follow on the website and even managed to show up for a few minutes during the grande finale (see earlier blog)... so here in book form – asking myself why would I want to burden my overloaded library with yet another tome containing text I had already read... why enlighten further my meagre wallet for an edition with no pictures to look at (well, an insert for the hard-up eye-candy-canes) Why would I want to repeat myself and exercise my right to superfluous behaviour and material hoarding...  usually I am very frugal and avoid unnecessary displacements and the acquisition of excess ballast... but this was just one of those things I wanted to have...




Gotta havvit!
A bit like a shopping nun who had been locked up in the cloisters for years on end and now finally was able to tear loose with the credit card of her bishop and landed in the sparkly world of Prada and Chanel... after all those years of sticky ointment! Just 19,99 at an outlet near you!

(talk about stereotyping! Could also consider as the bishop himself on a spree of beatific hysteria - bit strange that illustration, but perhaps brought about by the venue- a former catholic school where who knows what went on,....  and the long beard worn by the artist reminding rather of a trappist monk or missionary out in the African boonies saving souls... who nose?)

maandag 2 juli 2018

Parallel Visitation

I had been following the goings-on of the parallel show for a while, on & off, with some interest and bemusement, as a slice of life citytrip kind of enactment – life with that live twist and intentional shift of occurrence... manipulation perhaps, modification, deliberate disengagement...  various things spring to mind and each of the participants has different points of view, making for an interesting kaleidoscopic image of the place in question... ten in all of which I most enjoyed Delphi and the Cloisters... 
(read all about it www.theparalellshow.com...)



Now a double parallel finale was offered with the possible participation of ‘the public’, to what had until then been a closed circuit only viewable from the outside as it were... In this case two venues were connected wit a live feed (resembling the old closed circuit television, security camera players & ‘the house’ voyeur programs..) A white cube space in Groningen (MP3) and a disheveled former cloister chapel at Greylight Projects in Brussels. I could manage a visit to the Brussels venue... a wonderful deco-haunt in full refurbishment... 
There I came across three performers (Ieke, Yolanda and iwbdjdyatmvezdmnekzawvb) known to me from other activities, among which the unnoticed festival... (here I must think of the three graces, which I used as mascot/muses for my own ‘european theatre of operations’, (see seal) ... sitting together in the strange chapel setting, just gearing up for a meeting... ah, my luck... I could directly participate in one of my favorite passtimes: meetings... 
What are we doing here, who are we and what should we do next... 

Before the meeting could really get underway I was texted from the counter-pane out in Groningen... it was FvL himself, having seen me on the sreed, who immediately proceeded to propose instructions... (Regieanweisung aus Groningen – in the old fluxdays if would have been a piece of paper or score, now instant messaging, wow)
I had moved away from the meeting (sorry I have to take this call) towards the open window, and saw, on the same level across the street, a bearded man jerking off at his open window... before I could switch my telephone from text to camera-mode he had receded into the gloom of his room... I was curious if he was just enjoying a morning wank or if he was masturbating in function of the three graces discussing the pro’s and con’s of  performative live art across the street... I attempted to linger at another window and get a shot, but it was not too clear at this point what he was doing... He was wearing a shirt but no pants, or they were about his knees... but an interesting off-off intervention nonetheless... 
Returning to the meeting, I had in the meantime been given an interventive instruction by FVL... so instead of informing the gathering of my discovery, which I had been intending, I proceeded to execute the intervention by asking Ieke to
“stand up and take her place brutally”

She looked at me rather quizzically but proceeded to stand and demand the seat that iwbdjdyatmvezdmnekzawvb was occupying, who then switched with Yolanda, leaving me no choice to complain that that should have been my seat and now all was perturbed (...which was no doubt, the intention of FvL in the first place...) In an attempt to continue the meeting we considered the situation: the performers unsure what this ‘final’ had to do with the other ten in the series... I for one found it interesting as an outside viewer to now have the opportunity to partake ‘live’ in the series, even if ‘hors serie’... it was now the performers who became to objects of observation, say, a madonna with no hands – in an environment which could be considered equally fake as ‘The Cloisters’: this neo-gothic flapper Byzantine decor was plasterboard and painted marble, itself by now a cultural curiosity, and we camera-players at the behest of an invisible Oz somewhere in Groningen... Another of my instructions was to ‘turn / turn away from the camera’ for a photograph to be sent... And, on top of participating in the meeting, the long-distance choreography I also could execute my own activities at will, being a sort of investigative dance of the space with a piece of wood, plasterboard and MDF respectively, enjoying the acoustics of the place (from what I gather they had already been playing around with that before I got there) and participating fragmentarily in some conversation about the situation aside from the recorded official record being written down by iwbdjdyatmvezdmnekzawvb.


More people arrived, new configurations were created, the video was blocked visually from various sides, both in Brussels and Groningen – family portrait sans portrait, so to speak... I had to take my leave, having participated for perhaps half an hour... On the way out grabbed some brochures about an earlier show ‘Parallel Placings (Koek/Malherbe) in which chance page also saw comments on white cube versus kinky chapel... but seems more of a chance dispalcement... and so I too displaced myself: to weave my way from the Botanique area towards the south station Midi, while a bit to look at the copper cauldrons at Wiels, then on towards the province of Hainaut, to various other presentations, like at Hornu: Jef Geys, last work, Jean Glibert & Ann Veronica Janssens...
More on that later. (see other gruzeblog)



dinsdag 8 mei 2018

double take too

The LLS Palace

After the long march from the original LLS to the new haunt LLSPaleis we all needed a breather and there was not much activity to e seen from the outside, while, of course inside the busy gnomes were arranging and organizing... in order to launch the place with a first manifestation by Joëlle Tuerlinckx, “FOR”



Or rather FOOR/ROOF if you will, since the whole thing is multi-faceted and double-taken... but that might be too Nederlands... and I prefer to consider the double O as just a double take: look again (also two O’s too) anyway, as the description says: ‘il commence par un changement de direction: la porte d’entrée s’ouvre à gauche’ Changement de direction can also refer to the new management. It is all about the space, it’s recent history, position and new adventure into the arts... Elements found, modified, pulled into focus with both associative and subjective aspects: the Duchamp urinoirs and perchance double stickers, double this double that, twin twofold, his & hers kind of game (we were offered willy-nilly pink and blue paper forage caps as used in diners where they flip burgers and fry fries...) around potato(e) sacks, belgian french fries, a roof garden (yes here we are again, and yes the association is valid) with various varieties but in identical pots, A, B etc... hopefully a beautiful garden in the future for all (neighbors and art-zoo’s) to enjoy. Kitchen becomes laboratory, edition of potential- one can choose a page, one can contribute, double again, by submitting two identical papers – it’s archivism, it’s administration, it’s a reflection of what it is, what we do with it, how we approach it and use it. 


It does remind us again of the closeness of art & life, reminds me of the reinte®gration series, is close to le vide without the stuff, or with too much stuff: l’état des choses, it is as it is, we are the ones to make it work. It works already, thanks to Joêlle, always very apt at making a significant gesture with very little means, effort of spectacle... slight modifications and juxtapositions enough to refurbish a whole way of thinking, forward and retrospectively at the same time...




A crux moment between the tall order of continuing the tradition of the LLS (387) and forging ahead with new perspectives at the same time... luckily the new management of the former chip-shop, as one might say is a veteran herself, and has over the years worked with LLS-original Ulli often and with great success... so i fact continuation guaranteed... now just have to wait for the spuds to sprout and we’re off!

zondag 29 april 2018

Liègoise Contemporary past

Finally got around to visit Liège again, after meaning to for a while but keeping on putting it off, which is strange, because I like the place and used to go on a regular basis... but time flows by like the Meuse and we don’t even recognize each other any more – as was the case in the first gallery I popped into ‘Les Drapiers’ – I had non-participated in a show there not so long ago – run by a former Tapisserie-Fondation tutor, but too long ago – the show by Jean-Pierre Husquinet (au bout du fil) was intriguing, but not really down my alley (anymore)
The show of archives and stuff from the Cirque Divers on the other hand was very much worth it. I was happy to have still been able to see it, since it was in fact the last day...

Remembering the Cirque Divers as a kindred place back in the eighties, where all artistic would mingle after cultural activities deep into the night, where shows by wonderful and special artists took place and where performance as a medium came into it’s own in the nether (-landish) regions of France, Germany and Belgium... Filliou was a major contributor, Ben a regular haunt as well as many others – Orlan, Carolee Schneemann, a whole section femministe of the first hour – speaking of holes: nice find, especially for the director of the Royal Navel Observatory: a suite of famous belly buttons...

























Had to remember also that I turned down Antaki’s attempt to do this kind of show in Antwerp because of the probable impossibility to find funding at that time... it would have fit the factor 44 brief, but his proposal was a complete re-building/enactment of the place, and that was perhaps a bridge too far for our operation at the time...



























Le Jardin du Paradoxe
Now though, in this sumptuous space of the Ville de Liège, a baroque church, it all came into it’s own in another way, not trying to recapture but to make it’s presence felt in a former adversarial space: scatology in church... great stuff. The archival approach also better than trying to capture the atmosphere... it’s forever gone in these neo-alt-right times... one can hardly imagine the contrast if one didn’t experience it oneself: all the more reason to keep & illustrate it for future generations now growing up under the weight of fake control... Anyway, it seems the City of Liège has acquired the archives of the Cirque Divers from the asbl d’un certain gaité, thus saving it for posterity... which is really good – often with this kind of archive it gets shunted around until it falls apart, and no-one sees it’s value until too late... here it seems to still be a coherent whole, and will be preserved. I must admit I did not buy the catalog due to lack of funds, but I sure will as I am able, since it’s certainly worth it...



I enjoyed the many exhibits spanning quite a bit of the latter twentieth: a nice and representative mix of what people were busy with – things we now take for granted, the advent of the image based communication, video, repro allsorts mail art networking in permanent creations, femenist and gender aspects, freedom of expression and where possible frontiers lie, as well as just plain nostalgic tit-bits of art-for-art next to engaged and enraged work from activists known and unknown... that strange and fragile symbiosis of university student working class steel mill... and lots of drink, obviously.
Very enjoyable and educative show free for all must-see... to my mind, and a good reality-check with our contemporary situation in mind:


Contemporary is already past... Thinking it was a work ( and still not sure ) I entered the three-house gallery space where ‘Collection’ was taking place – a show of work collected by Catharina Helsmoortel and Jean Marie Rikkers... with quite a few artists that I knew, and so had to go look... but admittedly decided to do a hit & run since I had already been driving all day & didn’t want to stay Dieter Roth hiding under the stairs, 














the aforementioned Angeli with small but intriguing works – a wall of Francis Schmetz looking thundery dark... Monsieur’s Delmotte behind the 
counter, process works one does not catch the first time – a sympathetic collection to endear everyone, and we were well met with lashings of wine and crunchy tidbits all over the show... small but enjoyable showcase exhibition.