INSIGHTS #11 Interview with Luca Barbeni, the Director of NOME who won the DISCOVERY Prize at Art Brussels 2019
The DISCOVERY prize is awarded every year to the gallery with the best presentation in the DISCOVERY section. Art Brussels wishes to support the younger scene, and has therefore instigated a prize since 2013, which is awarded yearly during the opening day to the gallery that has made the most original and engaging presentation in the fair.
The winners of the DISCOVERY Prize 2019 have been selected by the following jury members: Tessa Giblin (Director, Talbot Rice Gallery, The University of Edinburgh), Hans Ulrich Obrist (Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London / Senior Artistic Advisor, The Shed, New York), Hélène Vandenberghe (Director, Philippe Vandenberg Foundation, Brussels / Advisor, The Institute for Artists’ Estates, Berlin).
For the 37th edition, the jury decided to award two galleries in Discovery: NOME, with a solo presentation by the duo artists Goldin+Senneby, and tegenboschvanvreden with Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen.
As part of Art Brussels Insights, we spoke with Luca Barbeni, the director of NOME.
How was the experience for NOME at Art Brussels?
My experience at Art Brussels was really positive, meeting a lot of interesting curators, collectors and general audience who were really interested in Goldin+Senneby practice. I decided to present their work at Art Brussels because I knew how the art audience from Belgium is prepared and receptive to complex and intriguing projects like Goldin+Senneby's. I was surprised to win the prize as there're a lot of great positions, but we planned the show in order to have the highest impact and to present a clear view on the work of the artists. We wanted to make a statement about the artists and the gallery and we succeeded.
What was the focus of your presentation at Art Brussels?
The focus at Art Brussels was a solo presentation by the duo artists Goldin+Senneby. NOME is a young gallery, so we prefer to present a solo booth at most of the fairs in order to show a clear position about one artist of the gallery. At Art Brussels we presented two works by Goldin+Senneby. The Plot (Utopia Bloemen), 2018/2019 was presented for the first time in its final version and as a site specific installation. The area outlined on the floor of the booth corresponded to a plot the artists have acquired in Belgium’s old mining territory. A poem written by Flemish poet Mustafa Kör re-evoked the memories, hopes and desires of newcomers, intertwined with the deep history of the Carboniferous-era plants that decayed into coal, which reappeared in the form of a mural executed in carbon charcoal. Inside the custom-built plein air box there were (1) the title deed for the plot of land, which will be transferred to the buyer of the artwork (2) the poem by Mustafa Kör; and (3) stencils and charcoal for producing the wall drawings. The two prints were part of the series Force Directed Predictions (2017). Each shows a correlation map visualising factors related to price changes in the global art market. Using big data and AI technology they function as portraits of the world in which the art market respectively soars and crashes. As such, they offer collectors images of the society in which they are investing.
What other current/upcoming projects by Goldin+Senneby are you excited about?
I'm always excited about Goldin+Senneby works, I think they're really sublime artists.
A recent project that resonated a lot in the art world and beyond is the "Ethernal Employment": the project is a winning proposal for a new train station in Gothenburg, where the artists proposed an elaborate conceptual work that illustrates the discrepancy between labour and capital. Goldin+Senneby is also planning a retrospective called Standard Length of a Miracle at e-flux in the winter of 2019/2020 and a new body of work called Crying Pine Tree.
Do you have any advice for young, aspiring art collectors?
Follow Goldin+Senneby! Their artworks are like a great “film noir”, at every turn there are new facts and ideas that will surprise you and stimulate your mind. Their works are thrilling!
Images : NOME, Art Brussels 2019. Photo by David Plas