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INSIGHTS | Peter Jan Valgaeren, SCREEN IT

In the frame of Art Brussels Insights, we spoke with Pieter Jan Valgaeren, the artistic director of Stadstriennale Hasselt-Genk who is curating SCREEN IT for Art Brussels, a project focusing on the impact of our current screen-culture on the arts.

Can you introduce us to SCREEN IT, the new media festival?
SCREEN IT is the 5th edition of Stadstriennale Hasselt-Genk which will run from 5 October 2019 until 6 January 2020. The goal of the festival is to tackle contemporary societal issues through art, with a strong focus on young and upcoming artists. An international selection with often new works or productions from artists as Mounir Fatmi, Tabor Robak, Arvida Bystrom, Lee Lee Nam, Constant Dullaart, Dries de Poorter, Emilie Brout & Maxime Marion, Aram Bartholl, Rafael Rozendael, Jonas Lund, Derrick Adams, Anahita Razmi, David Horvitz, Molly Soda and others will be rolled out in two amazing post-industrial venues. Their work is framed and challenged by reference artists such as Nam June Paik, Tony Oursler or Rodney Graham.

What’s the idea behind SCREEN IT, the project at Art Brussels?
The SCREEN IT selection at Art Brussels is questioning how our contemporary screen culture is influencing the art world. With an open call I wanted to challenge the participating galleries to think along this research question and come up with sometimes really interesting proposals. Different from a rather top down selection I wanted to start the debate with the galleries who, based on the personal relationship with the artist, could provide me with insightful information. It’s a rather unusual way of curating, but I’m very pleased with the final selection.

Can you already tell us more about which artists have been selected for SCREEN IT at Art Brussels?
The starting point was to have wide, as well contextual as geographical, answers to our research question. There are major influences to be found from more formal structures as (post-) internet, commercials, TV or societal questions of gender, sexuality, religion and identity. With artists like Daniel Arsham, Tuncay Berkay, Constant Dullaart, Mounir Fatmi, Agnès Guillaume, Julius Hofman, Bae Yoon Hwan, Birgit Johnsen & Hanne Nielsen, Adina Mocanu, Tabor Robak, Sam Samore, Emmanuel Van der Auwera we will present an intriguing selection of video works.

What’s the importance for you to connect SCREEN IT with Art Brussels?
As Art Brussels became one of the most influential fairs in Europe, it brings together an amazing selection of artists, gallerists, collectors and art lovers. It’s intriguing to see how the audience will react on the fundamental research question of SCREEN IT, which has a museum-like outcome. Secondly we’ll have the chance to warm up the audience for the upcoming festival in October, so they can mark this in their agenda.

As a curator, what’s your advice for young, aspiring art collectors?
Take your time to train your eye, knowledge and taste by seeing and reading as much as possible. Create a circle of people you can follow, talk to and debate with, as this is the most interesting part of collecting. Talk to gallerists and artists, follow interesting people online and dare to step out of the traditional paths, as often the most interesting things are happening outside of the box.


Images by order of appearance:
– Portrait Pieter Jan Valgaeren
– Daniel Arsham, Future Relic 03, 2015, 15’3’’, courtesy of Galerie Ron Mandos
– Tabor Robak, 20XX, 2013, 6 minutes loop, courtesy of Upstream Gallery
– Mounir Fatmi, Across the Moon, 2016-2017, 11’33’, courtesy of Ceysson & Bénétière

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