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.

dinsdag 3 april 2018

End East End

Though I had full understanding for the decision by our head Pistologist to discontinue our annual gathering at Ostend, my biological calendar needed more time to adjust... so I found myself on the train to the queen of Bathing beauties on Easter Monday anyhow... geared up for some art-action, whatever...

This time we had time, no promises to keep no specific venues, no pressure to perform, but to take in a few works by other artists participating in the “raft” of artsy activities around the place, including the just opened “Beaufort”... Highlight of which is the wonderful tong in cheeky monument to Jacky, the heroic dog... it’s really the cat’s whiskers, because it speaks to everyone: the art-lovers, the dog-lovers, lovers, bums and passers-by, all take a second glance, stop and sometimes close in to read the plaque... it’s one of Guillaume Bijl’s better ones recently... in fact, I seem to remember he did a maquette or prototype for the show “Chien Vierkant/ Hond Carré” at Factor 44 years ago... (1998, and, after an altercation proceeded to destroy his own work, to then re-position the pieces... from which point on we called it “chiens casseés”...)

dogs too, are very interested

We say the plastic-bottleboat in the Poverello-church, the video with the pink version somewhere in the Mediterranean I presume, the sagging gates at the Peperbusse and the video in the big post office, 

but we came for sun, sea & sand so we headed for the creamery and had a good coffee while watching the day-trippers slide up & down the croisette... we joined them towards the station, and had a short homage session on the small beach (the one we first frequented back in the 90’s) where I dislodged myself from a recent alter-ego used for a perf-paff in Munich... K. Lagerhalle...

So, a perfectly pleasant day without the ret of the crowd, - a pity though when it’s time to quit it’s time to quit – and we were on an early train for once, which was also good...
I had written a small something about our meetings, hoping to include it in the next “Emergency Index”, but alas, far too late, the deadline being months ago...

Here it is anyway...

Demise de L’air...

Little did we know at the time that the 23rd annual easter monday performance meeting at Ostend would be the last... But then, it fit in well with the spontaneous nature of the whole project, which began with a small performance presentation at the behest of Marc Hioco (Institut de Pistologie) featuring organizers Dialogist-Kantor, and participants Andrew Webb, Titania Altezze and Heinrich Obst back in 1994... then billed as a “Laboratoire Patacycliste number “LP6, Les Grandes Brulés”.
From then on it grew naturally into one of the most agreeable performance meetings in Belgium, attracting participants from Antwerp, Brussels, Charleroi, Ghent and Liège occasionally on co-production with artist-run spaces such as EVA Malibran, Bureau du Port, Factor 44, Buireau Gruzemayer, and in recent years Buktapaktop... At the turn of the millenium one could count 30-odd performers and a participating crowd hovering around 100. In the nineties it was part of a series ‘Laboratoires Patacyclistes’ (LP) in which performers would gather at different venues, with a penchant towards semi-public spaces, and perform at will... aside from a theme/title there were no guidelines, and participation was open... registration and line-up discussed at venue. From 2000 it became somewhat more structured, with a hosting venue and catering by the Institut de Pistologie, based in Ostend.
One of the permanent features was performing on the beach- even if we had space in which to gather and perform- there was always a visit to the ocean’s edge, and regardless of weather conditions a number of performances presented there... after which we would warm ourselves in one of a few haunts we frequented, enjoying the selection of Belgian beers and the Ostend jazz scene...
The last meeting, called “Del Air” began at the gathering venue, a former post office become cultural centre, and proceeded through the city, attached by string, to the seafront at the casino, and proceeded to execute the performances on the beach, weather being dry, sunny and windy but still cold... Heinrich Obst did an “‘air piece” in which he cut his hair, using a living mirrored sculpture by Pjotr Os... to the strains of the 1968 musical “Hair” sung in heavy French & Flemish accents... We ended up, as we often did, warming ourselves to the strains of Marvin Gaye at the Lafayette, café he frequented when living in Ostend...

The news of the demise of this very agreeable performance tradition came as a surprise, but given its impromptu origins it’s perhaps time for something new... Dialogist-Kantor has already published one edition (Pistologie 2010-2014) of an archival series concerning this special venue, and thus it will still be present in people’s minds long after its gone. 

Image: live artist Pjotr Os on the beach, April 17th, 2017– while being photographed by filmmaker Boris Lehman as well as other participants...

vrijdag 2 februari 2018


We hardly ever go to formal dinners. Perhaps I should say anymore, since there was a time when it did happen, occasionally, that I would end up at a long table with all sorts of artistic types talking, eating drinking and making merry... until the bill came and everyone disappeared... one of the reasons the enthusiasm for dinners has been somewhat subdued in recent years.
But this was a one-off special occasion... a gaggle of friends celebrating one of our own after years of estrangement, loss of contact, divergent interests and all that. A mix of people who knew/had known each other at some point, sometimes came across each other, with variant backgrounds of working together or alongside each other or in some way connected to the person being celebrated without his knowing officially, initially, but who showed up then, by circumstance fashionably late... so to speak.
The frame was opulent – a restaurant some of us had visited in the past, once perhaps, to give it a try but in fact way out of our budgetary range... which made this gathering a rather unique situation. It is perhaps a cliché to say, but the framework does in fact influence one’s state of mind (as well as dress) on this sort of occasion... Elevated sense of decorum perhaps, paying a bit more attention to one’s manners than otherwise? Who is to say, but for each one of us a bit of a treat... a celebration for us all, survivors in a way of times past, with ups and downs to recount, and diverging insights concerning the world around us. But common ground in general, the kind of shared attitude that makes adherence and coherence possible over long stretches of time and reconnect when the moment arises.
Conversations ranging from current affairs, activities and situations to small jaunts down memory lane, refurbishment of information on this or that person or thing-a-majigg end so forth... perhaps not the most profound exchanges, but useful updates and additions to general knowledge as well as specific dope on such-and-so... without descending into the unsavoury effluence of gossip. Capable, pattering conversation like small streams sometimes diverging around a rock or eddy of disinterest or just plain misunderstanding – or hearing problems at that, though it must be said the whole affarir was not noisy in any way... something one might have considered becoming given the guests and their reputations in bygone times... for in fact the group was quite a swathe through the more progressive tendencies of culture in the recent past, spearheading changes and new attitudes over a couple of decades at least...
While some had become established names in certain quarters of the cultural scene, others preferred to remain less obvious and in some cases downright secretive, without however relinquishing their convictions to some circumstance or other. The people around the table were not quitters and remained active in their own specific ways and sections of artistic practice. What could be said is perhaps that some might fare well with more public exposure, since one can’t help noticing that in the field many lesser figures were attracting more attention than their fair share. But then again, as said, some abhor attention, public or otherwise, and prefer to delve deep in a sort of virtual anonymity that does, however, surface when one knows where to scratch.
The meal was sumptuous, and the wines exquisite, contentment reigned and conversations flowed languid between all protagonists that milled and mixed somewhat in the interludes, making for a comfortable evening akin to such occasions as one might find friends who had only recently seen each other gathering... without the intensity and high-jinx of a younger set. We had had enough of that and no longer needed to play-act pretending our positions of underline them with affectation and exaggeration (x-ageration) so to speak. That in itself was refreshing and added to the feeling of being at ease, just enough to not become too mellow and on towards the morose. In fact the ending was very civilized, compared with the memories that had been rekindled during the evening – another difference that is not at all bemoan-able, since we all have had our share in out & out blasts and bust-ups in our time... in fact once even a prerequisite for a fine evening out... no this was quite stayed and amicable by comparison, one might even say statesman-like.
Who Nose?

(though quite a different situation, I couldn’t help thinking of the feel &’ teneur’ of “my dinner with André”(Louis Malle 1981) 


or the Banquet years (R. Shatuck) ...

...and yes, of course, but then in feudal times, among the aristocrats: fifty-fifty!)

or the Banquet years (R. Shatuck) and yes, of course, but then in feudal times, among the aristocrats: fifty-fifty!)

zaterdag 13 januari 2018

Rottmouw & Mallemouw

(Rotterdam / Port de Soller)
Partially against principle, entirely against principle... The trip to Rotterdam was not entirely for the sleeve, meaning it was half way a family affair (to Bergen of Zoom) and on to the sleeve removal  (solo) at Rotterdam... The sleeve pulling at Porto de Soller was also part familiar, part intentional... In that sense only partially intended, but wholly against principle.

But the sleeve pulling at Soller was also in preparation to a future project, also taking place abroad, and which is also quite questionable as to the necessity of a personal presence... Though everything is geared toward it... Flight, hotel, meals... A real business trip one might say, and as such expensive for someone else... Leading us to the crux of the matter: most of these trips would not be made if not paid for by somebody (haphazard unknowing) else... Tax deductible for sure but leaving a major carbonated footprint smack in the middle of the conversation.

A return to theatrics... Whence once the scene was set to transport the viewer to far away, often mythical places, we now transport ourselves to far away and less mythical places to then offer electronic documentation at home... Reverse angle, slightly ingenuous... One might argue a return to the former system would be regression into theatre, rather than the more progressive improvisational performance experience, but well conceived and prepared activity should be able to deal with that... In any case there is a tendency to affix the concept to something less ephemeral than the performance itself, be it documentation in a form such as book brochure catalog, archive, video sound recording, flash memory tid-bit... Or even just a mention of title, time and place in a CV or historical overview.
(yes, been done, some flux pieces are only that, perhaps we should consider such a regression...)

These considerations have come up because we are nearing the end of a series... One based on a hereditary wardrobe, parts of which have seen use and modification in various venues over the years. A review is in order because there is nearly no projection left: all has been used at least once. Time to re-evaluate, research and rehash... With the question being if any of it should be retained as " object" rather than mere archeological of anthropological source material.

All of the material has come a long way, spanning not only decades but also continents and even "eras" and as such interesting again after a period of relative insignificance. It all depends on the point of view and what will happen next.