Politics of Things

The Politics of Things is a series of talks, conversations and readings that will accompany the exhibition Mementos: Artists’ Souvenirs, Artefacts, and other Curiosities organized by Jens Hoffmann and Piper Marshall.

The curators asked over 70 artists participating in Art Brussels 2017 to display a personal, intimate and perhaps even secret object that they have an emotional relationship with and to describe what that object means to them.

Personal objects such as an old toy, a rare book, a vintage photograph, a collection of coins, porcelain figurines and others do not necessarily carry a commercial value but often hold a strong emotional or sentimental value for those who own them.

Within the often-abstract environment of an art fair this exhibition is both, a look into a number of individual stories connected to the artists' personal and private life and an exploration of the commodification of art that is at the heart of any art fair.

The exhibition unlocks the barrier between the private (the personal objects) and the public (the artworks on view at the fair) and our own individual relationship to both within the context of larger economic and political structure that examines society’s enduring fascination and fixation on the material world.
The talks will bring together artists' reflections on the relationship between art and non-art objects as well as anthropological and psychoanalytical readings of the items on display.

Friday 21 April

12.45 pm
Conversation (45 mn): Kris Martin with Jens Hoffmann

Kris Martin (b. 1972), is a Belgian born artist working in a diverse range of mediums such as sculpture, installation and drawing, fusing personal experiences with the legacy of conceptual art. He lives and works in Ghent.

4.15 pm
Conversation (45 mn): Laure Prouvost with Jens Hoffmann

Laure Prouvost (b.1978) is a French artist based in Antwerp. Her works often find their articulation in multifaceted installations involving film characterized by layered stories, dark humor and Dada like poetry. Employing a distinctive filmmaking practice, the artist examines the concepts of truth and fiction.

5.30 pm
Conversation (45 mn): Sophie Nys with Jens Hoffmann

Sophie Nys (b.1974) is a Belgian artist bringing together sculpture, drawing, photography, and video that examine, in an often humorous and playful way, themes of history, philosophy and architecture among others. She lives and works in Zurich.

Saturday 22 April

2.00 pm
Reading (30 mn): Germaine Kruip

"The Cultural Biography of Things: Commoditization As Process" – Igor Kopytoff; 1986 – Edited by Arjun Appadurai, University of Pennsylvania, Cambridge University Press
Germaine Kruip (b. 1970) is a Dutch artist, living and working in Amsterdam. Her highly performative work engages with a wide range of topics from the alterations of public spaces through architectural interventions to investigations into audiences’ perception and relationship to art.

2.30 pm
Conversation (60 mn): Jamieson Webster and Benoît Maire with Piper Marshall

Jamieson Webster (b. 1979) is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York where she works with children, adolescents and adults. She teaches at Eugene Lang College and is the author of The Life and Death of Psychoanalysis (2011) and Stay, Illusion! (2014) with Simon Critchley. She is currently working on The Cambridge Introduction to Jacques Lacan, and a new book titled Conversion Disorder.

Benoît Maire (b. 1978) is a French artist working in a wide variety of media such as film, sculpture, photography, painting as well as writing. His work is described as a territory where art and philosophy merge to form what he calls the Aesthetics of Difference in which neither art nor theory exist any longer as autonomous entities.

Sunday 23 April

1.30 pm
Reading (30 mn): Kendell Geers

"That is all I have to Say about Freud" - Bruno Goetz; 1975, International Review of Psycho-Analysis
The artist Kendell Geers (b. 1968) creates raw, confrontational art whose aim is to confront audiences by questioning social and political certainties. Born in Johannesburg he now lives and works in Brussels.

2.00 pm
Conversation (60 mn): Hilde Van Gelder and Karl Holmqvist with Piper Marshall

Hilde Van Gelder (b. 1969) is Professor at KU Leuven. Bringing in both her legal and philosophical background, her research focuses on how the photographic and moving image as contemporary art can contribute to shaping insights into the current state of the global political and socio-economic sphere.
Karl Holmqvist (b. 1964), is a Swedish artist who often works collaboratively with other artists such as Klara Lidén or Rirkrit Tiravanija. He is best known for his text based works, poetry and readings recently expanding into the area of installation and painting. He lives and works in Berlin.

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