Artistic Project: Mystic Properties
The artistic project for the 2018 edition of the fair, titled Mystic Properties, has been developed in collaboration with HISK (Higher Institute for Fine Arts) in Ghent, is curated by Elena Sorokina, Curator for the HISK, and will include works by HISK alumni and (future) friends.
Elena Sorokina, Curator says:
“This exhibition is conceived as a conversation between several generations of artists who have been residents at HISK, an institute founded as a free, non-hierarchical, open and experimental space of artistic exchange, based on conversation as a learning and teaching method.”
The point of departure for the project is the Ghent Altarpiece, also known as The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, which was first exhibited in Ghent’s Saint Bavo Cathedral in 1432. Painted by Jan and Hubertus Van Eyck, the altarpiece is considered one of the most important paintings of the Western canon, a monument of a proto-modernity still rife with such dichotomies as mysticism and realism, art and craft, and myth and science.
The exhibition looks beyond the canonized status of the altarpiece to focus on two propositions: the altarpiece’s local belonging and its epic migrations. For centuries, it was an object of desire for kings and heads of state, dictators, governments and regular citizens. Its various panels were sold, looted and ransomed, incorporated into royal collections and migrated between countries as spoils of war.
With this vertiginous perspective on the historical shifts in the status of the Ghent Altarpiece in mind, Mystic Properties examines histories of possession and temporalities of belonging, displacement and recovery, as well as the paradoxes of owning and exhibiting art in the present day, when ownership of art grows increasingly disconnected from making it accessible to the public.
In the specific context of this exhibition, the altarpiece is considered a local treasure, intimately connected to the city of Ghent. Nonetheless, the artists question both the relationship to its canonical greatness and the impurity of categories and canons as such. They recast the question of the actual belonging of the work, asking if it can indeed be considered a part of 'the commons', like air, water, or language, a public cultural property belonging to everyone.
With all these questions mapping the exhibition, it unfolds multiple meanings of “property” - a thing or things belonging to someone, the right to possession or use, or an attribute, quality, or characteristic of things. Alternative notions of “property’ are emerging today. They might emanate from specific communities or circular economies, but they deeply change our ideas of how we own things. Responding to these seismic shifts we are witnessing, participating artists have invented new ‘regimes of ownership’ for art, conceived ‘acquisition scores’, created their own crypto-currencies, or developed exhibitable seed banks.
The exhibition architecture was designed by Richard Venlet as an open structure, a space to interact with the work exhibited, in which the artistic projects extend the architecture, modify it, and spill beyond its borders. It embraces an intermediary status between ‘artwork’ and what is traditionally considered “exhibition architecture”, and is designed to be re-used.
Participating artists: Michiel Alberts, Bili Bidjoka, Kasper Bosmans, Ricardo Brey, Raffaella Crispino, Clément Cogitore, Heide Hinrichs, Hedwig Houben, Ola Lanko, Ella Littwitz, Almudena Lobera, Philip Metten, Wesley Meuris, Pedro Moraes, Joris Van de Moortel, Cadine Navarro, Femmy Otten, Nyaba Leon Ouedraogo, Nicolas Provost, David Schutter, Ante Timmermans, Rinus Van de Velde, Maarten Vanden Eynde, Pieter Vermeersch, Vermeir & Heiremans, Annie Vigier and Franck Apertet (les gens d’Uterpan).
Ghosttransmissions pt.2, curated by Nico Dockx, with sounds by: Gívan Belá, Michael Esposito, Francisco López, Marcos Lutyens, Ramuntcho Matta, Raqs Media Collective, Koichi Shimizu, Lamont Stigler, Eric Thielemans, Steve Van den Bosch, André Vida, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Only on view at Art Brussels, from 19 to 22 April 2018.