09 Oct 2010
31 Dec 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


Stephan Balleux « Franky » 2007-2010, vidéo
Michel François
Sven Augustijnen, Le Guide du Parc, 2001
Sophie Whettnall “Recording the light” 2001, installation vidéo, 7 minutes
Ana Torfs « Toast » 2003, Photographie noir et blanc
Hans Op de Beeck Extensions 2009
Jacques Lennep  « Musée de l’homme » Installation, 1976-1980
EDITH DEKYNDT « Martial M » 2007, vidéo en boucle de 9’19’’
Leo Copers
David Claerbout
Ricardo Brey
Koen Theys PATRIA (Vive le roi ! Vive la république !)  2008
JOHAN MUYLE, B. Au bord des lèvres, 1992/2005 18/22/12 cm
JOHAN MUYLE  CECI N’EST PAS UNE PIPE  2007 , installation
Pol Pierart « En Belgique le ciel est toujours pleu » Photographie noir et blanc, 16x11,4 cm
« Remake d’après des projets de 1971 et 1982-1984 »Jacques Lizène, Installation vidéo, 2010
Guillaume Bijl « James Ensor à Ostende »
Emilio Lopez Menchero « Trying to be James Ensor » photographie couleurs marouflée sur aluminium, 76,5 x 61,5 cm, 2010
Dominique Castronovo et Bernard Secondini « Tout vite tout voir tout avant de disparaître » 2007-2008
Wim Delvoye « Kiss » 2001
Jan Fabre, Spinnenkoppentheater, 1979
Erwan Mahéo « Anticlock » 2008-2009, light box 200 x 130 x 25 cm
Ann Veronica Janssens « Untitled (Martin Mac2000 performance)” 2009, installation, 9’
Marie-Jo Lafontaine « Alice in wonderland » 2008, photographie
Stephan Balleux, « Hold Everything Dear 001 » Charcoal and pastel on paper mounted in aluminium, 236x290 cm, 2009
Pierre Bismuth « Eau de pluie de Bruxelles » Installation, 2010
Honoré D’O « Grisailles, grotte de théorie » Installation, 2010
 Johan Grimonprez “LOST NATION, January 1999
Orla Barry « Wideawake » Vidéo, 25’, 2003 Collection galerie Nadja Vilenne, Liège
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DOCUMENTATIONS
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

DIRECTION

Curator : Dominique Païni

Deputy curator : Pascale Pronnier

Exhibition design : Jacky Lautem

COMMUNICATION

Press contact

Claudine Colin Communication

Katia Lhammi

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

E : katia@claudinecolin.com



CONTACT



CLAUDINE COLIN COMMUNICATION
28 rue de Sévigné 75004 Paris
T. +33 1 42 72 60 01