IN SITU: art on display in windows
Showing art during the lockdown: escaping the virtual museum with #windowmuseum
Brussels, 5 May 2020 – On Friday 8 May, KANAL-Centre Pompidou, in collaboration with the new platform #windowmuseum, will present the exhibition IN SITU. This first exhibition to emerge in the context of the current crisis seeks to answer the question: ‘How can we continue to exhibit artworks today?’ IN SITU will be part of a series of exhibitions curated by #windowmuseum at three venues: KANAL-Centre-Pompidou in Brussels, the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles in Paris, and BPS 22 in Charleroi.
After KANAL-Centre Pompidou was obliged to postpone until after the summer the John Armleder exhibition ‘It never ends’ (initially scheduled for April), the question arose as to how to continue to exhibit works of art and to show the work of artists during the lockdown. IN SITU, curated by the new platform #windowmuseum, proposes a first answer to this question. The health crisis is also a social crisis, one that has highlighted inequalities and imposed a reassessment. It also reminds us of how important contact, touch and closeness are to us, to our bodies, to our environment. Our contacts with society and with art cannot remain merely virtual.
“Culture is above all an encounter with a work, with an artist. That is why the “virtual museum” is a trap. Organizing virtual tours in response to the lockdown is well-meant. But in fact it goes against the very nature of the museum, which must remain a physical space in which we come together (even in small numbers)”, insists Yves Goldstein, director of KANAL.
Lola Meotti, curator of the IN SITU exhibition, will take over six windows of the Kanal-Centre Pompidou Showroom in order to exhibit works on the surface of the windows so that they are visible to passers-by. The size and location of the building mean that the exhibition will be seen both from a distance and from close up.
“In my projects as a curator/artist, I always find it important to create shifts in practices between the different fields of the art world and its actors. I called on Gabriel Tapia in his capacity as a tattoo artist to work with me on the scenography”, explains Lola Meotti. “The first gesture of the exhibition is to stick a sheet of white vinyl on all the windows, a sheet reminiscent of the walls of the white cube. Placed on the façade of the art centre, it becomes a skin, a permeable epidermis, a vibrating thickness. The idea is to tattoo KANAL in a radical change of scale, the size of the black line drawing, once printed, being multiplied by 100. The drawing represents an imaginary vegetation somewhere between coral and trees, a mutant vegetation, in the image of our time. We turn upside down the support and its object and make visible from a distance something that normally coils itself up in the depths of the body.”
Once this scenographic gesture has been performed, the next phase of the exhibition takes into account the closeness of the viewer: the works appear in windows cut out in the vinyl, which acts as a huge passepartout frame.=
The IN SITU programme brings together three artists who each question, in their own way, our relationship to, respectively, the body, to the territory and to danger, themes that are eminently topical.
The relationship to the body with Claude Cattelain, who creates works permeated by the time it took him to create them from ‘poor’ or recycled materials. In the works shown here, it is impossible not to see the performance that brought them to life.
Hicham Berrada is like a researcher, perhaps even a chemist. He manipulates substances, gases and pigments, but also various metals, dipped in products that dissolve them. He also films changing landscapes.
Hervé Charles’s concerns are both photographic and ecological. His photographs are taken in the field, where he surveys often dangerous areas or areas impacted by a recent catastrophe (volcanoes, fires, flooding). Documentary precision overlaps with mysticism in his work.
- Location: Windows of the KANAL-Centre Pompidou Showroom, Square Sainctelette, Brussels
- Dates: 8 May 2020 – 28 August 2020
- For more information on the #windowmuseum platform: www.windowmuseum.org