zondag 23 februari 2020

Yoan horizon

Fascinating exhibition though perhaps edgy event horizon is a matter of conjecture: how is it then that the written word enters it’s new age of oscillating letters projected on prepared pages rather than heavily smudged with ink on pulped trees… and where the pages turn other images of this story or another animate the landscape only just perceived, whittling away at what you thought was stable… no thoughts are scurrying all over all the time, why not literature?



by contrast the reductions of ball-point pen interventions in classic (penguin) paperbacked books: they become as abstract and variable in interpretation as the electronic counterpanes displayed on the other tables - and the hand painted graphics on standard Nepali licence plates, along with the typical shop sign saying just the opposite: words without meaning in that slightly festive curvature used to give a statement somewhat more flair…

























Textile too becomes tactile context woven in and out the meaning of the wooly phrase provided in different colours / wove and weft combinations of two strands together… communication that can keep you warm from the sharp mountain wind, for a while at least, while you consider the meaning of the statement at hand…
























Same with the narrative looking figures - purportedly involved in significant handlings that we are supposed to recognize or at least interpret - correctly is another matter - books become live things, creatures reinventing themselves / seemingly - but controlled by program (in this case at least… beams reading QR codes to calculate which page you’re on… still regognizable, as was Gutenberg’s wooden letter (later lead etc) at some point… but here we are at the threshold, that point of no return when the vision takes over and even the prototype becomes obsolete in the wink of an eye…

sweepstakes.
























all the associations still don’t make a coherent image, but relay the gist. 

Invisible white noise (until moray reveals it) 




unreadable black text (until light strikes it at a angle…) 



we must prepare our tools.

vrijdag 29 november 2019

double perfweek: Jetlag / Pipe

just off the plane for an encounter with B

JETLAG#2

Greeted by what was going to be a volcanic eruption we arrived just in time for the JetLag#2 at the buktapaktop, an encounter of Korean and Brussels-based performers... The volcano caught fire quite a wasy down the slope and had ro be carried out into the rain to avoid the toxic fumes putting an early end to the encounter... Lucky for us the two volcanists had a reserve mini-volcano at hand which they set off for a festive beginning of procedures...   



  i had the luck to be right at the window where the fist apparition from Seoul incanted a text I can not translate, but anyway it was garbled by the fact that the reader was being entwined as to were, so as to make coherent reading a difficult feat, in addition to darkness, rain, glaring light and then the puffed cloud of fine flour on window pane prepared with pictogram or symbol denoting one thing or another, probably explained by the illegible text and presented garbled as a means of communication quite foreign to us... Or so I thought... But it did make an impression even without explanatory context... 






Next was a video of a performance, in which a group of smartly dressed revellers commenced to bite each other sensuously and profusely, repeatedly and serially - no sound but one could surmise the kind of groans and squeals as if one were there oneself, feeling the pain and perhaps the delight as blood was drawn... Quite a constellation if you ask me, but the spades which were lingering in the background initiated the second part in which the group proceeded to the forest to entomb themselves up to their necks in soil, earth and perhaps immobility in order not to devour each other entirely... Who knows, latter day vegetarian vampires perhaps...





Speaking of ritual, the next offering was quintessentially easter, with a small shrine of joss-sticks commencing proceedings in which the protagonist priest donned electronic neck dress in order to manipulate his surroundings.... We the participants were give reflective discs, and one laser beam came down straight, to be joined respectively by the next and next until four enclosed a space in cardinal terms, framed strictly but then defected by mirrors and caught by ourselves, redirected to each other and creating a visual conversation of web-like inference, in some cases a beam would be deflected numerous times across the room, in other instances shared by more than one mirror, multiplying the possibilities... This all in relatively calm and speechless enjoyment of each others company.




Silent was also the bird-man who stripped down to basic shorts & shirt to slowly and deliberately mount a plinth made of slats and tape, on unsteady and undulating ground, to balance slowly upward, slightly shaky but well in control, to finally stand upon his perch, extending wings for balance, moving slowly from one observation angle to the next, to then equally slowly and deliberately retire.... This all surrounded by concentrated silence... The audience was equally involved and perhaps even strained, tense to see it through without mishap.... For once bird-man dropped his perch, it broke up in its constituent parts, making obvious how fragile it was and how amazingly proficient this quiet balancing act in fact was... 























An enigmatic video of close up skin extrusions was shown, abstract and electronically manipulated to identify certain regions on interest, to whom? To what? A strange application of facial recognition technology perhaps to identify just that question... 
 
Two dancers did a showcase intro view into a breakdance hiphopperrave suite, dressed in the obligatory jogging outfits, energetically showing their wares before launching into a more abstract and structural performance of an extremely slowed down version of a decisive move, synchronised perfectly and reversible... Like robots  but human, breaking int a sweat and conversing with the audience - reminding us to keep in touch with the human rather than being fascinated by technical prowess... 




It was a very interesting a sympathetic encounter with a certain eastern calm presiding over the whole proceeding - a restfulness we lack here in the west often...
great stuff! many thanks to our Korean visitors!



same week different venue:

Pipa/Dortrecht (part 1 of 4)


This time I made it to Dortrecht, where I had promised to participate in the first night of boredom, but couldn't get my car started and was therefor a no-show, unnoticed artist... Tho my text was read at the selected site... This time I got there but went astray thinking the venue was at the ( co-) organization Lodge 222... When in fact it was in Pictura...















On time even, with a breathless realist to greet us all, blowing his breath into black garbage bags (or bin-liners you might call them) and adding a pellet of shit to an invisible text-fragment on the wall... His eyes were watering behind goggles, his floppy hat reminiscent of a walkabout... A huff and a puff... And the urban intervention videos in the library/barspace were intriguing... Keeping the passersby from passing by but standing still to block other possible passers to pass by... Lots of south american stuff... Interesting ones, too much to recount here, this being just a subjective passer-by's account...


In the back room a dance-duo was just winding up a paint by gun number... They would react to the public that would react by squirting their pistols laden with green ink either on the dancing targets, the prepared canvasses or the suspended pages... All beginning with virginal white but now spatterd pollock-colorfield....





 In the main room a ladder protruded from a hole in the floor... Basement emmitting strange reverb-sounds while a girl diappeared down the ladder... I followed suit, coming upon an ensemble of guitares resting on their amps... Swinging along as it were... No player, no wind of funny electonics, just the presence of each others company emitting a slow sine-curve of reverb now and again, decaying before becoming feedback... Quite an achievement if you ask me... Cutting it fine just along the threshold of  distortion.... 

While in the next cavernous space a collector was arranging his collection of ... Well... Things similar, the significance of which did not really reveal itself to me, but which fascinated none the lass and had my sympathy even if only for the mere audacity to present these boxes of things neatly arranged in the basemen as a statement of no sort I could fathom... Perhaps there was still something that was going to happen, or associations that would become clear when all had been laid out... 


I would return, I said to myself when re-emerging from the hole in the floor just as someone was taking potshots of the space... I decided to do a little walkabout myself, to feed the parking meter or rather to repark the car in a less expensive area... Passing by the breathless crocodile hunter, now having produced the outlines of a word or two with the pellets I surmised to be rabbit-doo or something more exotic... (kangaroo?) The black begs were amassing too... Filled with carbon dioxic sweat and dizziness.



out in the town my instructions said that I was to turn left if a sound came from the right, so I heard sounds as they were convenient, and enjoyed the rather quaint old town with lots of boats, which is always good in my book... By the time I got back the breathless Australian had been able to spell ... the real... what precisely I don't know and couldn't ask because he was still exhaling into the bags... The place began looking like an upside-down Duchamp... 


The squirt-gun action completed it's second phase, with purple dye this time, making it more Monet and giving the shooting an air of spring, if not the right of spring, the dance being a bit relegated to the action... I would have preferred if they had forgotten about the audience even if they were taking pot-shots...









 But the evening was saved by a gaggle of girls in garish costume, swimming costume, no, bodysuit like cyclists costume, of bobsled perhaps, something competitively sporty, shiny, dynamic and synthetic... There trick girls proceeded to depose copious amounts of plastic on the floor... Household plastic we all know and have come to cherish in our lazy efficiency, throw away society... They began the laborious job of sorting out the diverse types of plastic as we do when the refuse collection is imminent, or garbage truck coming to get it... Once it had all been sorted, or just before perhaps, the girls started playing with the stuff, making at first slight rustling noises as in a dense forest but getting bolder and bolder to more percussionist tendencies to end up in a kaleidoscopic lighting throwing trash and themselves about in flashes of fancy plastic sculptural instances, ending in a heaving volcano...





Resurfacing slowly they began moving the mountain of plastic waste in a sort of pincer movement with their legs, clearing the chaos while churning up a menacing mount... Sympathetically, sensuously, but inexorably towards the increasingly alarmed audience against the wall... Endin up by delving some onlookers under the barrage of poly propylene, ethylene and trichloride combination...
Party's over, time to make away with all this junk.


zondag 24 november 2019

running in Limbo




Having not been so very convinced during the summer, decided to keep it close for the start of the season… a beautiful show of Bernd Lohaus’s work at the Schütte Foundation near Neus… though not a simple space Bernd’s work went well in this environment - the brutish cement patinated coincided with the seasoned timbers, oil-rope and bronze… the lack of a plint just the kind of thing the sculptures could use for the backdrop transition from floor to wall…  the distancing was good - on had the feeling that B. himself inspired the setting up of the work, which at least for me, was a refreshing view, nostalgic in ways, but also surprising - older works holding their own with the recent ones… 

































and even the small blockworks (on woodblock floor, which at first seemed not so successful but eventually fit well…) a few drawings… more was not needed in this sumptuous space, the light filtering in different ways on different days… (went back for the catalogue presentation in completely different weather and it worked well also) Catalogue sumptuous, outside works well placed - bronzes on terrass over landscape, ‘Gelebt/Geliebt’ on the pathway leading to the pavilion… also a pleasant reunion of sorts…




Next up a backflash of Wout Vercammen’s work at H8x12 out in the countryside - also a great initiative of Frank ‘il ventuno’ and a sympathetic combination of archive and works not seen in quite a while (in fact the ‘stress’ work was unknown to me until then… quite a bit of the zen-like period which is nice to be reminded of, and the drawings, something one sometimes forgets when confronted with the bang-boom graphics of the square meter pieces… A very nice homage, and later on finally had the chance to visit his grave, delighted to see in the meantime he has a gleaming black-yellow-and-red tombstone sepulchre… amaai…


















Did quite a bit of bopping around this time, from the ‘inattendues’ in Tournai, where I came across a nice early work by Monica Droste, to the higher floors of the Mas, where Captain Bijl and consort salute the scores of visitors from their precarious perch, right down to the serial presentations by one Wayne St… at Haeken & Ooghen where we saw some recent Klagsbrun works along with another past-participle Jef Lambrecht graphic which we had sort of forgotten… Pinky Bowtie did a wonderful small archive presentation of Roland Rom and Rudi Renson’s “RTVS” with great record release by Ultra Eczema, part of the Tyfus consortium, (see earlier blog in dutch) 














October & we launched into the big leauge with the major Broodthaers show “Soleil Politique” at yers-true (muhka)museum… quite a effort on behalf of the whole team and family, to produce a major overview that includes a lot of never-seen material, smaller jewels and new juxtapositions - proof that there is in fact reason to continue investigating… after having seen the recent international retrospective (at Düsseldorf) I was also curious as to what could ba augmented, but was admirably surprised… well worth it, more than once… LLSpaleis kicked off with an interesting group show concerning the ‘Dulle Griet’ just back from renovations - a wild goose chase around various venues, which was sort of crazy fun admittedly… Mysterious views of an unknown object was the subject Christine Clinckx chose for her study at Eva Steynen, along with a selection of the Kruithof collection - something I am very curious about and want to investigate further… Large Marie Cloquet photo/collageworks at Annie Gentils also impressed, while the “ …des Abeilles “ at Grand Hornu seemed somewhat of a let-down after the great archive show by Fiona Tan… 






Rather intrigued by Goele De Bruyn’s contribution to a three woman show at the Garage in Mechelen, not sure if the empty showcases and embroidered bomb were part of the fire(ing)wall(s) presented in petit-point - but certainly enough to get my curiosity raised… as did Leo Coper’s series of anonymous selfies in front of a plethora of museums all over the world… flanked by two identical (true/false) bustes of the famous unknown, reminding me of Voordeckers’ installation way back in ’88 - some things are timeless, as also the white flag dragged in the video downstairs - cross referencing my mind to Cladder’s White flag project withering away from the Solitude castle (need to do something about that - waving a tiny piece of kerchief on the occasion of the 18th near Louvain, again on the way to H8x12 - this time a nice show by Christine and Dominique Rappez, mathematical playfulness combined with philosphical serieux and interchanging levels of overly, painting as print so to speak, something I myself had tried a hand at back in the litho-days…




ending with a fluxfest in the academy, quite a palette of interesting interpretations of classics, of which I saw only a few: concert for lots of hands and times rightoutstreached as well as a sort of watermusic drip piece… 

















November then saw us returning to the Raketenstation near Neuss, this time taking some time for some other aspects, especially the architectural, and the armistice visits and such… there was Extra City with Hermans & Menxel, and a group floor around Family (fem) Fictions and there was Lille, (Fr) where Grégoire Mott gathered some friends around for a historio-theatrical installation, using works from historical museums, his own ditty-like poetic interventions and works by friends and kindred spirits to make for a slightly askew exhibition of sorts one cannot quite pur in a category… personally I have the tendency to consider live archive, and yes, archival live art is part of it, but still does not cover the whole (or the hole, as might be…) Luc Fierens at Bleck was somewhat poorly visited, but then I just returned fro Dortrecht where the combo Pictura/Lodge 222 just kicked off a series of performance weekends which looks very promising indeed… 

zaterdag 14 september 2019

Fascinating Fiona

How does she do it? Presenting what in the first instance might be called long-dead and defunct archive, but imbuing it with life, interest, amazement while at the same time keep ing a stayed distance, an immobilization behind glass and screen, a moment frozen in time come alive for a bit, or even just a fleeting moment, hardly discernable…


Shadow Archive - les archives des ombres - straddles the formidable distance between museum of contemporary art and Mundianeum - something of a curiosity in the universal order of things… or rather the chaos of life, attempting to order the impossible with a positive conviction we hardly understand nowadays… A utopian challenge to our current cynicism, a breath of musty air from a time when peace and prosperity for all humans seemed possible… a time when there was still amazement at the wonders of the world… 
perhaps with this exhibition one can rekindle the notion that not all is lost: that artists at least, still entertain these feeling of discovery, of conviction that there is something good to be found behind the piles of investigative papers and reels of footage, reams of cartography and all sorts of recording devices, albeit digital by now… that there is a point of view to be defended, even if old, antique or just plain out of style - and these multiple views form a personality, an attitude, an understanding.




She goes back further than the specific history of Paul Otlet and the Universal Decimal Classification system, - in fact she augments with a more subjective layer in which the defunct remanants become alive: imagination, conjecture, projection, all elements of the original, to be consulted in perfectly arranges traditional viewing cases, aligned systematically as Otlet would have appreciated, but ended-up with video presenting impossible views, simultaneous synthetic subjective… Other projects, all revolving around collections, memories and the attempt to fixate fleeting times, with the ‘circular ruins’ turning us in circles of Jose Luis Borge’s story amid connecting and knotted ropes, strings to wander through… 

The two-tome approach to the catalogue is also very apt: the distinction and conversation between two approaches, with references to other works and more specific detail on some aspects dealt with, makes for interesting and agreeable reading: the otherwise dry matter of systematic classification right up to the utopian fantasy of a universal city, which as it happens was planned ‘right down our alley’ making Antwerp the centre of attention (which I’m sure would have chuffed enormously) - included even an open letter to the habitants of said city…


The exhibition at MAC’s being well worth while, the second leg is a bit of a disappointment: the Mundianeum has been over-renovated, as is often the case when authorities finally decide that something is worthwhile… Obviously there was a lot of money spent, with underground archive an ample facilities out back, but the spirit of the old musty remnant of a once great archival project has been reduced to a tid-bit funfair with lots of video and info-panels, coffee-corner and the obligatory shop taking up a large chunk of the space: as do entrance hall and ticket counter… a typical example of the “Walibification” of institutions everywhere: they have to become entertainment venues..

Luckily we have Fiona tans wonderful synthetic version of what the Mundianemu could have once been: a huge depository of knowledge built along the lines of a Panopticum, with by now dusty and forgotten reading & writing desks, lamps askew, chairs overturned… a future vision of the past, the now already being past, exept perhaps in the mind’s eye.




zondag 16 juni 2019

anderlecht sortie/sort of dérive dirigé


The Maison des Artistes in Anderlecht is a leftover from those sumptuous days of an emerging Belgium when Brussels was all abuzz with new art and artists associations were all the vogue... A stately building with creaking floors and damaged stained glass windows form the school playground next door, once no doubt a lush garden with fountain and such... A portrait of Akarova next to the janitor’s mop reminds us of greater days... but still a very agreeable place to visit, especially since there is a wonderful exhibit of work by Jérôme Giller to admire: his first overview since living in Belgium.



Based mainly on a series he began a number of years back in Tourcoing, the show begins with a retrospect description of various urban walks he has organized, often in conjunction with a show or a residency project involving local youth groups and art classes, or just with local people in general, but very aware of the immediate surroundings and life on the street. Large posters represent each of these walking projects, be thay industrial such as Route de Feu or Borderline, such as the first one following the frontier between Belgium and France... a rather surreal border, and in some ways a bit unusual... strange, far-fetched...
The map and the territory, stuck in a small mailbox by Filliou comes to mind. When watching the videos of the urban walkers negotiating the most incredible obstacles in their quest to remain as close to the theoretical border as possible, the difference becomes painfully apparent: we say we know where the borders are between things, places concepts, but in fact have little idea of it at all until we breach it or attempt to adhere to the fine dotted line as put down by surveyors and politicians....


Aside from the walks there are videos with what can be called cameo-appearance street interventions: displacing things that are in themselves already strange enough but become downright surreal when shifted. Often cued by existing situations they have a lighthearted and serendipitous nature, a tad mischievous, often surprising to the instigator himself. These collections span various cities at various points in time and have a fascinating universality about them which I would think appeals to everyone.
A large video of a project done at Herstal  has a mesmerizing effect: smoke rising from the coal heaps surrounding the area. After extraction the refuse coal ignites spontaneously, creating small volcano-like vents where flora and fauna of a completely different sort manage to survive, mini tropical paradises with their own sorts of insects swarming around languidly smoking crevices... quite fascinating view of what might be considered non-places where nothing happens – quite disregarded by locals who are used to it all, even though the mining of coal had ceased many years before.
Wonderful drawings of frontiers, border-walks, structure of surroundings, silhouettes of things observed, elevations and notes make it all a fascinating look-read and represents well the process... the constant passage of information all sorts which only later perhaps become more significant when the lines are merged... The map with only the border and the walks around Brussels is a case in point: a seemingly banal city map becomes a pearl of an image, recognizable and abstract at the same time, with the ‘usual information’ blocked out by a thin veil of whitewash.
I have to admit I again failed to participate in the walk attached to this show- not being able to spare the time – but did attempt to catch a glimpse by hanging around the general area I though they might pass... to no avail. I will certainly make the effort to make the time next time..., which I sincerely hope, there will be.
Jérôme Giller at Maison des Artistes, 14 rue du Bronze 1070 Anderlecht
Still until

Sunday 23rd of June (finissage)

<grensVlanderlecht.jpg>picture taken bij Jérôme himself somewhere on the frontier Anderlecht....