‘Abstractie?’ in Roger Raveelmuseum Machelen

Gepubliceerd op: 10 May 2012

Niet alleen voor de iets oudere lezers onder ons, maar ook voor de jongeren die nog willen geloven in schilderkunst: in het Roger Raveelmuseum loopt de fijne tentoonstelling ‘Abstractie?', met werk van zes kunstenaars die, in hun beste periode, maar één ding voor ogen hadden: het schilderen an sich, "de unieke kracht van het schilderen als visueel uitdrukkingsmiddel." Met werk van Raveel himself natuurlijk, maar ook Eugène Leroy, Bram van Velde, Maurice Wyckaert, Pierre Tal-Coat en, als relatieve youngster, Karel Dierickx.

Praktische Info

‘Abstract? De natuur van het schilderij' tot 17 juni in het Roger Raveelmuseum, Gildestraat 2 Machelen-Zulte. Open wo-zo van 11-17u. +32 (0)9 381 60 00, www.rogerraveelmuseum.be

 

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Niet alleen voor de iets oudere lezers onder ons, maar ook voor de jongeren die nog willen geloven in schilderkunst: in het Roger Raveelmuseum loopt de fijne tentoonstelling ‘Abstractie?', met werk van zes kunstenaars die, in hun beste periode, maar één ding voor ogen hadden: het schilderen an sich, "de unieke kracht van het schilderen als visueel uitdrukkingsmiddel." Met werk van Raveel himself natuurlijk, maar ook Eugène Leroy, Bram van Velde, Maurice Wyckaert, Pierre Tal-Coat en, als relatieve youngster, Karel Dierickx.

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‘Abstract? De natuur van het schilderij' tot 17 juni in het Roger Raveelmuseum, Gildestraat 2 Machelen-Zulte. Open wo-zo van 11-17u. +32 (0)9 381 60 00, www.rogerraveelmuseum.be

 

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Institute for the Research of the Avant-garde and HDLU Zagreb in collaboration with David Zwirner, London, present an exhibition of new work by Belgian artist Luc Tuymans. The exhibition, titled ‘Allo!', brings together six new paintings and a series of wall paintings especially conceived for the rotunda of the Mestrovic Pavilion.
Tuymans's new series of paintings is inspired by the final scenes of the 1942 black-and-white film ‘The Moon and Sixpence', which was adapted from the 1919 novel by W. Somerset Maugham. The film tells the story of Charles Strickland, played by the British actor George Sanders, a middle-aged stockbroker who abandons his middle class life, his family, and duties, to start painting. Loosely based upon the life of Paul Gauguin, the movie ends weeks after the death of Strickland, when his doctor travels from London to the village in Tahiti where the main character lived. When the doctor enters the painter's cabin, the movie changes from black-and-white to Technicolor. Tuymans made a series of screenshots of this color metamorphosis. The photographer's reflection - that of Tuymans himself - can be seen in the screenshots and therefore also in the paintings.
Alongside the paintings, Tuymans created a mural based upon a series of lithographs titled ‘Plates' (2012). This series depicts ceramic plates from the artist's personal collection. The dinner plates, Eastern European in origin, refer to the local ceramics industry that was once a symbol of national pride during the communist era.
One of the most influential artists working today, Luc Tuymans's at once compelling and complex figurative style is widely seen as having contributed to the revival of painting in the 1990s. Using minimal amounts of paint while covering a broad range of subjects, including political figures and celebrities, deserted landscapes, nondescript villas, lampshades, pot plants, and pillow cases, Tuymans has been described as a master of the ordinary. Yet small clues within his delicately painted works often point towards a more sinister meaning, with subtle references frequently made to historical atrocities, collective traumas, and the manipulation strategies deployed by today's mass media. Painting from pre-existing imagery-photographs, film-stills, newspaper cuttings-Tuymans's works address the elusive gap between memory and reality, personal space and public space.

Luc Tuymans, ‘Allo!' from May 10th till June 21st. in Home of HDLU - Meštrovic Pavilion, Trg žrtava fašizma bb, Zagreb, HR. www.hdlr.hr

 

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A Feast in Paradise

The ‘en vogue' artist group AES+F has not been very present in Belgium so far. End of April 2012, during the Art Brussels art fair, when the capital of Belgium - home of the European Union, mussels and pommes frites - was congested with art aficionados, our comrades had their grand opening at the private collection of Walter Vanhaerents.

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

- Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146

AES+F group as we know it exists since 1995, when AES (founded in 1987 in the USSR by Arzamasova Tatiana, Evzovich Lev and Svyatsky Evgeny) were joined by Fridkes Vladimir. The members address themselves, similar to the protagonists of Tarantino's ‘Reservoir Dogs', as Mme A., Mr E., etc. This is not the only allusion to Hollywood. In their oeuvre they often refer to the world's most efficient dream factory; tongue-in-cheek, of course.
The film of AES+F exhibited in the project room of the Vanhaerents Art Collection is entitled ‘The Feast of Trimalchio'. This second part of a trilogy was premiered at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, and later toured the world from Sydney to Moscow, through Tokyo and many others. In the best tradition of AES+F, the work is socially critical, highly aesthetical, deeply intertextual and, clearly, witty.
Inspired by Gaius Petronius Arbiter's ‘Satyricon', written during Nero's reign, the artists created an allegoric representation of our society. The HD video shows intellectuals, beauties and nouveaux riches, and, in contrast to other works, elderly people, as well as their servants, wasting their lives and exchanging their roles in hotel Paradiso of the 21st century. "The ‘servants' resemble the brightly-coloured angels of a Garden of Eden to which the ‘masters' are only temporarily admitted... Every so often the delights of ‘The Feast of Trimalchio' are spoiled by catastrophes which encroach on the Global Paradise", so the teaser by AES+F.
The eerie impression created by perfect videos starring perfectly looking people in the perfectly looking world, where even fights and catastrophes happen without wounds and suffering, is intensified by somehow doll-like movements of the protagonists. The effect is caused by a production peculiarity: highly sophisticated HD video installations are made out of thousands of photographs which morph into movements of contemporary wooden Pinocchio's.

AES+F like to state that their work is "between good and evil", so their protagonists, just like Pinocchio before he became a real boy, do not have/need any rudiments of morality. In that way, they inhabit Nietzsche's philosophical paradise described in his Prelude to Philosophy of the Future, the book of Aphorisms ‘Jenseits von Gut und Böse. Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft'. We, as post-post-modern ‘homo ludens' and active cultural consumers, have to fill this emptiness and either try to revitalize the puppets by filling them with own moral and emotional content or fulfil Nietzsche's dream and re-launch, or, rather, join, the moral-free intellectual discourse.

DIALOGUE
Dear AES+F, in April your exhibition opened at the Vanhaerents Art Collection in Brussels; ‘The Feast of Trimalchio' is presented in the project room as a nine-channel video installation. This work has different shapes and formats; it was shown as 360 degrees multi-channel HD video installation in cylinder shaped exhibition architecture at The Garage in Moscow, as one channel video in Donetsk and is also represented as digital paintings and even sculptures. In Kyiv, Ukraine, during an exhibition at Pinchuk Art Centre, you've installed a large semi-circle banner of ‘Trimalchio' inside the Bessarabsky Bazaar, across the PAC building. Architecture seems to play an import role for your exhibitions, is that so?
AES+F: "Architecture or more definitely space is always in focus. So our work can exist self-sufficiently in a very intimate space of small private collection or in really big public spaces. We are really interested in the presentation of our works in different wide social contexts - from media to big-scale city interventions. Usually we develop our projects in the very different directions and forms."

‘Trimalchio' is an illustration of Hegelian conflict, where masters own society and slaves build society, whereas in your work, the latter seems to be based on sexuality. However, as the story goes it becomes less clear who is the slave and who the master. How did you come across the work of Gaius Petronius and why is it relevant today?
AES+F: "We love to play with modern stereotypes such as ‘our time is very similar to the times of decay of Roman Empire'. At the same time we took from the novel of Petronius just a title of one chapter, and all scenes and characters are very modern. We think that all relations of masters and servants are very actual for all times, and maybe especially today on all the levels - from personal psychological relations to geopolitics."

You have shown ‘Trimalchio' in the 2010 Sydney Biennale where you've worked together with artistic director David Elliott. Now you are working with him in Kyiv for the first Biennale of contemporary Art where your most recent project - ‘Allegoria Sacra' - will be presented. What is the story behind the new oeuvre? And can you tell us a little more about your cooperation with this curator?
AES+F: " ‘Allegoria Sacra' is the third part of Trilogy formed by ‘Last Riot' (2007) and ‘The Feast of Trimalchio' (2009). The short description of all three parts of Trilogy can be: the first part ‘Last Riot' is a Hell; the second part ‘Trimalchio' is a Paradise, and the third part ‘Allegoria Sacra' a Purgatory. This project has a reference to the painting of Giovanni Bellini: some art historians consider the picture to be an image of Purgatory, because of the presence of such characters from Christian and Antic mythology as St Sebastian, St Paul, Centaurs, there is also a Muslim in the left bottom corner.... We have been inspired by his mysterious image, and see his characters as passengers waiting for their flights in the contemporary international airport-hub. These people are from different cultures and even from different times. The characters' dreams are mixing, and we see the film as a grotesque and surreal view on our modern civilization.
We have worked three times with David Elliott, if you count the show ‘After the Wall' in Moderna Museet, Stockholm in 2000. So we know David a long time. His ideas, his aesthetic vision, and his special sense of humour are close to our projects. But David is not only one curator with whom we made several international biennales - for instance among them Hou Hanru (Gwangju Biennale, Tirana Biennale, Istanbul Biennale), Jean Hubert Martin (Lyon Biennale, Moscow Biennale) and some others."

Ekaterina RIETZ-RAKUL & Steve SCHEPENS

An interview with artistic director David Elliott and a review of the First Kyiv Biennale of Contemporary Art will appear in the next issue of H ART.

 

© 2012 Ekaterina Rietz-Rakul, Steve Schepens

 

 

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AES+F - The Feast of Trimalchio, till 30 November 2013
Vanhaerents Art Collection - Project Room, Brussels, Belgium
www.vanhaerentsartcollection.com

First Kiev Biennale of Contemporary Art, ‘The Best of Times, The Worst of Times. Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art'. Curated by David Elliott. 24 May - 31 July 2012.Arsenale 2012, Kiev, Ukraine, http://arsenale2012.com

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