What if we worked to produce an exhibition not based on the sharing of space between artists, but rather, the allocation of time? The floorplan would merge with – or would be replaced by – a calendar. Each artist, each piece, and each event would be marked on it. Sometimes at different times, sometimes superimposing, and sometimes creating space between the moments when time is filled.
Initially, the interface with the outside world would be a schedule showing how each participant decided to use their time. Behind this graphic, a seemingly rational way to divide time as a quantified “resource”, the actual exhibition space in a 1930s former cigarette factory in Molenbeek (Brussels) would play host to the spatial result of this experiment in reversibility.
The apparent chaos, the heterogeneous occupation of the 1000m2floor, and the formal arrangement of interventions, presentation rooms, to-be-activated zones, workspaces and storage areas would voluntarily remain dissonant, (dis)functional, and achieved in a plethora of different manners.
A glittering ruin sucked upwards is an exhibition constructed within dialogue, through conversations and experiments, assessments and exchanges. A show being imagined, composed and produced with regular meetings held in a kitchen around a shared meal at its heart. The purpose-built kitchen stands at the centre of the exhibition space. It is mobile. But it will stay there for the entire duration of the exhibition. It is the beating heart, the breathing lung of the project. It is also a place where one can read, rest, or do nothing.
This project acts as a response to our situation, echoing a multidimensional, (post-)pandemic, exponential and disastrous crisis and the colossal waves of visible or invisible violence and destruction, precarity and uncertainty, rising individualism and intolerance, the hate and silence that it pervasively generates potentially at all times, everywhere. It is simultaneously dramatic and sad. It also stands as an invitation to self-organize, assemble, and act together.
The intimacy that has been permissible between us, and the all-central freedom tackled here are so many ways of learning from one another. They also provide the means to create networks, alliances and circles, and experiment, generating new forms without being declarative or manifest. The project is like an evolving large semi-collective studio or heterogeneous landscape.
Ultimately, we imagine our group exhibit as less of a sophisticated presentation than a project featuring each one of us who, akin to tectonic plates or landmasses, touch, and un-touch as we create a (metaphorical) seism together. While the factor of temporality remains relevant insofar as this project formally begins when we start to inhabit Gosset and “opens” when the first public program is launched, we regard our project as a process to a wider extent than as a usual laureates or graduation “show”.
The format of something protracted, fluctuating, fluid and process-based makes sense as a response to the deeply ingrained sensation that we need time. We need time in the sense that time has been stolen from us for a long time. We need more time to deepen our understanding, perceptions, and our relationships. We need the “long” time, the time of immersion, meditation and organic growth. But we don’t only need more time. We also need – perhaps more importantly – another time. Another form of time.
And we will not have enough time to plan… which somewhat epitomizes the identity of our show. Why not leave some of these aspects open for the time being and set up a structure – a sort of method and device – and engage in it as a sort of machine that would eventually generate connections and ideas of its own accord? A machine that would eventually let things percolate and come to life. We believe that this is where the sincerity lies in our process. But has this process already started? When will it end?
A publication will be produced to pursue this conversation and translate it into another language, another dimension, while we are still occupied, dispersed, trying to combine the need to focus on production, composition, and space, and are desperately attempting to feel the urge to set more distance and open new perspectives, create connections and deeper exchange.
(Excerpts from a collective text assembled by the participants)
HISK laureates exhibition 2022
Curated by Yann Chateigné Tytelman
Gosset site – Building A (first floor)
Gabrielle Petitstraat 4 – 6
BE 1080 Brussels
Friday 2.12.2022, 18:00 - 22:00
3.12.2022 – 23.12.2022
5.1.2023 – 29.1.2023
Thursday & Friday, 14:00 – 18:00
Saturday & Sunday, 12:00 – 18:00
The title of the exhibition is excerpted from Early Education, a poem from Lisa Robertson’s Magenta Soul Whip, first published by Coach House Books, Toronto, 2009. Used with the kind permission of the author.
Graphic design: Atelier Brenda