Adam Leech Herman Van Ingelgem
Participating artists: Michael Dörner, Philip Huyghe, Adam Leech, Isa Melsheimer, Aam Solleveld, Herman Van Ingelgem
In this edition of the Time Festival, the curators Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven and Koen Van Synghel were inspired by Ghent’s fascinating identity in the spirit of the age of symbolism. At the end of the 19th century, the medieval city of Ghent underwent drastic changes caused by industrialism; these would give the city an air of ambivalence for decades to come. It was also during this period that the middle classes flourished and the division between public and private domains was continued within the spatial organisation of society.
The 19th century middle class interior exudes this social contrast. On the one hand the reason for this is clearly private, while on the other hand, an important part of public life was enacted behind the stately façade. The layout of the rooms, the interiors, the furniture, all subtly exude the characteristic oppressive atmosphere of middle class life with its forced secrecy and underhandedness. It is the interior of alienation, the spatial echo of stillness, which is in sharp contrast with the rapidly changing urban landscape outside.
At the same time, labelling the interiors with words like ‘boudoir’ and ‘fumoir’ point to the institutionalised dichotomy between men and women, which is closely connected, both socially and culturally, to the public-private division.
The curators discovered interesting leads in writers from Ghent like Maurice Maeterlinck and Jean Ray, because in their work they attribute a psychological aspect to the space. Or they demonstrate how a certain space can play the part of a character in a story. Two works were a direct source of inspiration: the play ‘Intérieur’ by Maeterlinck and the thriller-novel ‘Malpertuis’ by Jean Ray. In ‘Malpertuis’ the eerie atmosphere of a fin de siècle interior is given its very own, extremely mysterious and metaphysical attributes.
In collaboration with Philippe Van Cauteren, both curators selected six contemporary artists who deal with space in their work and examine the psychological meaning of ‘interiors’. The artists are invited to epitomize the mental construction of interiors, based on the special characteristics of their work, as we see in the work of Maeterlinck and Jean Ray. The exhibition is preceded by an examination process in which the obscure boundaries between mental and concrete interiors are explored. In the end, and as a preamble to the exhibition, the intense collaboration between the artists results in the creation of six installations on site, which evoke a certain state of mind.
How can mental constructions manifest themselves as actual spaces? How do spaces construct their own codes, or how revalatory are their meanings? How important is a space in determining someone’s mental state or not? Is a space really what it seems and where is its real boundary? What is illusion and what is reality and where is the divide between the two? What makes a house a safe home, or an oppressive place of isolation? What happens when the interior becomes a person who turns against its own inhabitants?
The exhibition is presented as a stage setting that cuts across the familiar environment of the white cube, and is separate from the rest of the museum. There is a door and there are rooms, but is it a home? The spectator walks into the unrealistic echo of a house, as if he is walking in a space between dreams and reality.
Kunstenaars: Michaël Dörner, Philip Huyghe, Adam Leech, Isa Melsheimer, Aam Solleveld, Herman Van Ingelgem.
Curatoren Koen Van Synghel en Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven lieten zich voor deze editie van het TIME Festival inspireren door de identiteit van de stad Gent in de tijdsgeest van het symbolisme.
In samenwerking met Philippe Van Cauteren (het S.M.A.K.) selecteerden zij 6 hedendaagse kunstenaars die in hun werk omgaan met ruimte en de psychologische betekenis van ‘interieurs’ onderzoeken.
Samen proberen deze kunstenaars elk vanuit de eigenheid van hun werk gestalte te geven aan de mentale constructie van interieurs zoals we die terugvinden in ‘Intérieur’ van Maurice Maeterlinck en de thriller-roman ‘Malpertuis’ van Jean Ray. Elk van de kunstenaars creëerden nieuw werk voor deze tentoonstelling. Het geheel is opgevat als een dialoog tussen de installaties die de duistere grens aftasten tussen mentaal raamwerk en werkelijke ruimte. Het interieur wordt een personage dat achter zijn façade een private wereld, onderdrukte verlangens en duistere geheimen verhult. Er is een deur en er zijn kamers, maar is het een huis?
“Een huis is geen huis als we alle kamers kennen”. Leopardi