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Objectivity and chance: a show in Brussels


05 March 2013

Objectivity and chance: a show in Brussels

Numbers, stories, the structures, conventions and mechanisms of circulation and consumption of discourse, superimposed images that create new stories following a logic of intervention and reference, are the spirit and essence of the exhibition that the gallerist Elisa Platteau organised in September 2012 in her apartment, in parallel with the show in her gallery in Brussels, that exhibited pieces by the artist Pieter Vermeersch. The exhibition consisted of a site specific by Vermeersch (Untitled [Black 0-100%], 2003-2012): a gradation from white to black, in an anticlockwise direction, painted on the walls of two connected spaces, of the same dimension and an invitation, made to a group of curators to intervene in this show.

The most interesting thing about this idea lies in its referential condition, where an invited curator dialogues with the curating of Elisa, with the intention of over-writing it, intervening with a selection of artists that don’t just dialogue with the work of Vermeersch, but also with each other, amongst themselves. The first guest curator was Moritz Kϋng, and the artists Ignasi Aballí, Luz Broto and Oriol Vilanova, as well as intervening in the piece by the Belgian artist, triggered a mutual interaction: a cumulus of signals and conceptual, contextual and generational transgressions. In the words of the curator “The positions were numerical, (the newspaper cuttings made by Ignasi Aballí), phenomenological (the video by Luz Broto) and meteorological (the postcards by Oriol Vilanova)”.

The positions revealed an interrelated abstract structure that in turn generated new forms of meaning and understanding. In this way certain paradigms of communication were used to reflect upon phenomena and circumstances that are governed by natural laws, mathematics or chance, while also manifestly subverting specific conventions in their quality as traditional channels of communication or transmission of information.

One example is the piece by Luz Broto that incites the most interest in its transgressive, spatial, interior-exterior dialogue, a dialogue between two worlds, separated only by windowpanes that steam up while a lecture by the artist Ignasi Aballí takes place. The piece, a video by the artist, records the voice of Ignasi and the process of the windowpanes slowly fogging up, without the participants being aware of it (one can even find Oriol Vilanova in the audience). Broto makes the subversive nature of the piece evident, playing the legitimated discourse off the passive conduct of the assistants at the event.

Oriol Vilanova for his part shows two diptychs in the series “Això és tot” a collection of postcards of sunsets from across the world. The dialogue with the piece by Vermeersch arises through the chromatic ordering, the ideal arrangement of a tourist exploited reality. The postcard in itself a sort of mystical container of places and moments of great value, like an amulet that offers the tourist the possibility of contact with a sublime event. If one looks carefully what also appears in his pieces is this phenomenological touch that plays with the established, the ritualised and the banal.

The cryptic piece by Ignasi, seems to leave everything to chance. In it, the numerical gradation turns the process of reading a newspaper into a mathematical act. Another type of informally arranged scale leads us, as if in a never-ending loop, to the same question: objectivity or chance?

Mabel is convinced that everything is constructed in accord with norms that regulate the way we do things: identity, patterns of social behaviour, public membership, or the paradigms that govern artistic and curatorial practices. She thinks that developing a profoundly critical sense about everything we do leads us to question up to what point we are prepared to question these patterns and rules, even if it is only to enter into other schemata.

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"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world" (John Le Carré)