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28 rue de Sévigné
75004 Paris
T. +33 1 42 72 60 01
F. +33 1 42 72 50 23



9 OCTOBER - 31 DECEMBER 2010

ABC - CONTEMPORARY ART FROM BELGIUM

LE FRESNOY, STUDIO NATIONAL DES ARTS CONTEMPORAINS, TOURCOING, FRANCE

Artists:

Sven AUGUSTIJNEN, Stephan BALLEUX, Orla BARRY, Guillaume BIJL, Pierre BISMUTH, Ricardo BREY, Marcel BROODTHAERS, Dominique CASTRONOVO and Bernard SECONDINI, Jacques CHARLIER, David CLAERBOUT, Leo COPERS, Patrick CORILLON, Jef CORNELIS, Manon DE BOER, Jos DE GRUYTER and Harald THYS, Edith DEKYNDT, Wim DELVOYE, Thierry DE MEY, Stefaan DHEEDENE, Honoré D’O, Lili DUJOURIE, Jan FABRE, Michel FRANÇOIS, Johan GRIMONPREZ, Ann Veronica JANSSENS, Christian KIECKENS, Marie-Jo LAFONTAINE, Jacques LENNEP, Jacques LIZENE, Capitaine LONCHAMPS, Emilio LOPEZ MENCHERO, Erwan MAHEO, Wesley MEURIS, Johan MUYLE, Hans OP DE BEECK, Pol PIERART, Gwendoline ROBIN, Koen THEYS, Ana TORFS, Els VANDEN MEERSCH, Emmanuel VAN DER AUWERA, Sophie WHETTNALL

(…) Proximity and evidence make us blind: France is unaware of the inventiveness, the diversity and the current creative agitation of some of our closest neighbours. However, for the Northern region, with the ABC exhibition of Belgian contemporary art, there is real fraternity, a cultural permeability which, paradoxically, has not erased the borders in the way that, for example, American, German and even Japanese artists have done in favour of fashion and the art market. In many respects, Belgium has made an impact on all the current artistic disciplines: dance, theatre and the visual arts which including the invented forms where these practices merge. Collectors and amateurs in Belgium have been essential in accompanying this contemporary effervescence. 

ABC is an exhibition that does not claim to be a comprehensive portrayal of the diversity of the contemporary scene in Belgium. The disciplines most particularly taught and practiced at Le Fresnoy have formed the criteria of priority for selection purposes: photography, film, video, installation, performance and choreography. And these are the exact areas where Belgium has recently been excelling, drawing from its inheritance of documentary film devoted to other disciplines - in this the work of Jeff Cornelis continues to maintain the tradition, - through experimental film (with his legendary festival in Knokke-le-Zoute) in a specific anarcho-dadaist tradition and finally quite simply with poetry of "beyond-the-limit" attitudes which, in the past, gave rise to spectacular provocations.

"I think that Flemish and Walloon artists are not particularly affected by internationalism. Belgium is possibly an artwork itself, and like every good artwork, it is a disappearing exercise which will continue to fascinate us and defy us."This is what Jan Fabre said one day and I retain two words that form a dumbfounding paradox, symbolist even: fascination and defiance. And we know how important art and symbolist poetry was for Belgian art, characteristics that continue to irrigate the most radical current practice. Further more, the exhibition is based on the hypothesis - and this was another factor of selection in the itinerary of the exhibition - that Belgium is probably the only country to perpetuate the cohabitation and mutual influence of two currents generally taken to be contradictory in post-1945 art: a conceptual, minimal trend and a post-dadaist trend with pranks verging on burlesque idiocy.

(…) It is a fragile country on the verge of implosion, drawn towards the idea of disappearing some say with an anarcho-poetical complacency that has become a cliché. In the last thirty years in Belgium there has been an exciting emergence of artists who do not wish to implode or disappear. A vitality based on a tradition of impertinence, provocation and nourished by the powerful and persistent belief in poetry, including the conjugation of visual forms where writing is the driving force. Symbolism, Surrealism and Minimalism form a specific trinity of which there is no equivalent in Europe and which forms the framework of ABC.

Dominique Païni, curator

 

Press opening: 7 October 2010





General information :

Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains
22 rue du Fresnoy, BP 80179, 59202 Tourcoing cedex

www.lefresnoy.net

 

Opening times

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays: 2pm to 7pm

Fridays, Saturdays: 2pm to 9pm

The exhibition will be open on November 11th from 2 pm to 7 pm / closed December 25th




Curator : Dominique Païni

Deputy curator : Pascale Pronnier

Exhibition design : Jacky Lautem




Press contact

Claudine Colin Communication

Katia Lhammi

T : +33(0)1 42 72 60 01

E : katia@claudinecolin.com







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General information
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Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains
22 rue du Fresnoy, BP 80179, 59202 Tourcoing cedex

www.lefresnoy.net

 

Opening times

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays: 2pm to 7pm

Fridays, Saturdays: 2pm to 9pm

The exhibition will be open on November 11th from 2 pm to 7 pm / closed December 25th




Captions
1. Stephan Balleux « Franky » 2007-2010, vidéo : courtesy Stephan Balleux/Think21 gallery
2. Michel François "Autoportrait contre nature" 2001, Vidéo
3. Sven Augustijnen, Le Guide du Parc, 2001 : video, colour and sound French spoken, English subtitles, 44 min Courtesy: Jan Mot, Bruxelles
4. Sophie Whettnall “Recording the light” 2001, installation vidéo, 7 minutes : Courtesy the Artist & Galleria Continua, Italia
5. Ana Torfs « Toast » 2003, Photographie noir et blanc : Collection MUHKA, Anvers
6. Hans Op de Beeck Extensions 2009 : Digital animated film on blu-ray disc, black-and-white, sound 10 minutes, 58 seconds (16:9 aspect ratio) Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano – Beijing – Le Moulin; Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna; Xavier Hufkens, Brussels; Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York; Galerie Ron Mandos, Rotterdam – Amsterdam.
7. Jacques Lennep « Musée de l’homme » Installation, 1976-1980
8. EDITH DEKYNDT « Martial M » 2007, vidéo en boucle de 9’19’’ : courtesy Edith Dekyndt - FDC SATELLITE, Bruxelles
9. Leo Copers "Le Voyant Aveugle IV" (De Bliende Ziener IV / The Blind Seer IV) 2006 : vidéo, 20 min. Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts, Bruxelles, 20. 07. 2006 courtesy galerie Nadja Vilenne, Liège