workspace*rosas by fariba mosleh

That building and above all what’s going on inside and around that institution, founded by choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and De Munt Opera director Bernard Foccroulle more than two decades ago, might be the reason why Belgium is the main producer of outstanding contemporary dance and performance work.
I had the great pleasure to occupy one of P.A.R.T.S. rehearsal rooms as my office last week as the artists Francesca Grilli, for whom I am doing production assistance currently, is having a residency there via workspaceBrussels.

*the holy halls of rosas are spreading their energy*
… probably as they all are unique in the sense that they are having a window front linking the rehearsing performers with the outside …

the schnormal way* by fariba mosleh

Friday Night with babysitter means that we start the evening with the double opening of the exhibitions of US artist Ellen Gallagher and Belgian artist Benoît Platéus. Under the title Liquid Intelligence Gallagher, who’s partly living in Rotterdam, presents her wide spanning painterly œvre as well as works she developed together with cineaste Edgar Cleijne. I very much appreciate the diverse materials and her special use of those. In the upper floor one can find the audio-visual installation Osedax from 2010 with a fantastic soundtrack Message From a Black Man by the ’70s soul group the Whatnauts.

Under the title One Inch Off Platéus presents a far-reaching body of works as well, whereas for me his photographic gaze is the most interesting one.

Always a bit oscillating between the visual and the performing arts, as I am, we left WIELS for the opening at Beursschouwburg of the NORMAL SCHNORMAL Festival. The months February, March and April they opening up their house with its diverse spaces (Stages, Black Box, Exhibition space, Café, etc.) for A multidisciplinary programme on normality and other deviations inviting a countless number of (inter)national artists sharing their artistic practice on this discourse …

What is normal?
Am I normal?
Do you think X, Y, and Z are normal?

We had the opportunity to see the artist Ntando Cele’s piece Black Off , a performance in three parts, first white-facing in the role of a stand-up comedian, then becoming very intimate and personal with her “natural” appearance uncovering her face from the white mask in several monologues, ending in a punk-rock concert … all offering a personal perspective on racism and socio-political topic, supported by live sound of a trio around the musician Simon Ho. I like Cele’s humorous as well as very serious approach a lot, but still I believe that the whole performance, taking 2 hours, lost a bit of its power by not stopping at the right, earlier, moment.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

Beurs' BIG Conversation* by fariba mosleh

And it was REALLY big - a lot bigger than I was prepared for - fantastic*
Last Saturday THE BIG CONVERSATION on Safety and Freedom took place in Beursschouwbourg, organized in cooperation with Goethe Institut and Panoptykon Foundation. It was such an inspiring, in-depth and highly professional organized event, which gave the participants a lot of strength and new ideas for their diverse practices … 12 very diverse experts and protagonists from a multitude of disciplines of topics of interests were present to share their expertise in conversation groups of up to 15 persons. The participants had the chance to choose one out of 8 conversation tables and to attend 3 of such session á 50 minutes. There were artistic interventions during the evening and a lot of space for discourse …
Globe Aroma, an open house for art and people was invited for such an artistic intervention, reading out poems on the human rights declaration in the White Cube of Beurs. A super project*

I attended the conversations of Dietmar Kammerer about surveillance, Eva de Beardemaeker about (un)safe & playful environments and with Kritikos Pandelis Mwansa about ethnic profiling. Each of them so different and unique. This format of gathering, input, dialogue and exchange is fantastic and I am sure some sustainable alliances have been developed that night.
I personally would like to get to know far more about Eva de Beardemaeker’s project CULTUREGHEM, a community engaged experimental organisation in a huge market hall in Anderlecht … let’s check that out!

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

@ S.M.A.K. Ghent: Raoul de Keyser … by fariba mosleh

Finally I made it to Ghent for the first time. It’s so easy to communicate within Belgium, it only takes half an hour to go from BXL to Ghent! And once there I used the last day of exhibition to see the works of Flemish artist Raoul de Keyser, who died in 2012. I like his kind of easy accessible œvre, but especially his early works - abstract and formal at the same time, reflecting probably his own obsession with sport … quite interesting that you already in his works of the 70ies you see the occupation of the space, which is currently quite popular - when he puts paintings into the open room or puts them onto the floor leaning onto the wall.
But S.M.A.K. itself? it’s a huge and cool building with great light situations letting light in via roof lights and huge windows.
The presentation of the collection and as well the photo exhibition at the ground floor level feels a bit arbitrary … And, there is the Broodthaers Cabinet, which is quite funny to visit with kids. The humor of that artists, who by the way was born in Saint Gilles, where we currently live, is simply accessible to a certain degree.
We will come back and are curious about the upcoming exhibitions … BUT also for the many other cultural hot spots in Ghent!

surprise*surprise by fariba mosleh

Exactly when you are completely fed up with those boring and mediocre gallery presentations, you enter a high-end Brussels gallery for the first time and can’t stop stunning!
This happened to me last Thursday at the opening of the artist’s couple Martine Feipel & Jean Bechamail at Galerie Valérie Bach. In the Saint Gilles neighbourhood street you enter a nice building and can’t believe which architectural treasure is situated behind this walls!
More than a 100 years ago this fantastic hall with wooden ceiling has been a skating rink - La Patinoire Royale. Beautiful*
Well, there war also an exhibition … and that one was surprisingly good showing Constructivist, Bauhaus and Modernism inspired installations in the space and on the walls which deal with the industrial robotic under the title Automatic Revolution.

And, in the end happened something so us, which I dare to say barely would happen in all the other cities I’ve been visiting exhibition openings at galleries like those (where the personnel is just looking into their MAC-computer and neither drinks nor finger foods is offered) - the two renown artists start approaching and an interesting conversation with you. Therefore I really love Brussels! So diverse, open minded, accessible and friendly people are living here, locals, internationals, and from all kinds of social backgrounds … That’s one thing what makes Brussels for me a European city, the capital.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

Back to the future* by fariba mosleh

Very simple from the concept and questionable if necessary (except to economical and marketing questions), but I did it - joining Rosas & tg STAN at Kaai Theater to see the anniversary re-staging of 1999’s QUARTETT after 20 years.

Entering the space the sound took you immediately onto a trip back into the late 90ies (if you’ve experienced them as not the whole dance enthusiastic audience could state - even though there’ve been many who had seen the performance already when it premiered). TECHNOOOO … I thought of style, aesthetics, age, physical appearance when I thought about the piece that had been shown with the original performers Cynthia Loemij and Frank Vercruyssen, but I didn’t think of was the very obvious fact of sound. Even though it played only a role around the beginning and in the middle of the piece, it was a crucial element. The two performed the text by Heiner Müller perfectly and probably even better than 20 years ago - I don’t know. What I could see is that Cynthia brought her body language even into more perfection. It’s interesting to think of rivals of contemporary dance history’s classics, but I’ve to confess that I couldn’t feel the immediacy and relevance the piece might have had a 20 years ago … After the performance I noticed big applause as well as relief around me in the audience.

While the text used to overwhelm me, I have now become much more aware of its layers and contradictions. It is simultaneously complex and simple, sad, cruel, but also funny. Our performance is less serious than it was twenty years ago.
— Cynthia Loemij, BRUZZ 18/1/2019
“I want to be your midwife to death.”
— Heine Müller "Quartett"

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

Poor EU dedication to ART by fariba mosleh

After seeing the presentation of Austrian artist’s works at the Parliament during their European Presidency last year, I now thought it might be interesting to follow the invitation for the opening of the exhibition of Romanian artists in the Parliament correlating with the start of the Romanian Presidency of the European Union. Well, it was quite sad to attend this non-spectacle — the accreditation for “visitors” took more time than the whole opening. The “Minister of Culture and National Identity” of Romania, Valer Daniel Breaz, was present to speak after British Catherine Bearder, in charge of the artworks of the European Parliaments, last opening speech (due to Breakshit or so). The minister cut a no-story tremendously short, spoke uncomprehensibly and declared the exhibition for opened without mentioning any of the artists, who even where present … after this quick procedure no one went through the exhibition but everyone to the drinks and finger food in another area of the floor.
Well, as Robert Menasse stated in his book Die Hauptstadt culture seems to be the less important departure of all of the European institutions …

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

BRIT(ish)*AUThenticity by fariba mosleh

Somehow, I didn’t make it to the 3rd talk, but the happier I am to have had the chance to attend the incredibly good and inspiring Conversation #4 on Authenticity of the KAAI Theater series … This time on race, identity, and belonging with AFUA HIRSCH. Among others, especially with the meanwhile bestseller BRIT(ish) the Guardian journalist, author and, human rights activist Afua Hirsch contributed an way important body of discussion of the hyper-contemporary discourse on the question of how long it’s gonna take that an immigrant becomes a part of a society without being asked “from where are you"?” or “the question”, as Hirsch states it, again and again.
I’ve to confess that I’ve been a bit doubting before the talk as I’ve had been occupied with that topic of P.O.C. a lot and recently was not so pleased about the direction of the discourse in the situations I heard and read about it. BUT Afua Hirsch already completely caught my attention with the extract reading out of her book. And listening to her talk afterwards made me falling in love with her and her british approach to the topic. I ended up buying the book from this inspiring lady even though I did plan not to. Now I can’t wait to start reading.
Afua’s contribution to the discourse on race and belonging within the western society has something very refreshing and contemporary as well as something down-to-earth. She combines her personal experiences and history with so much knowledge and interest for the common question lying beneath this personal question. More then emphatic she created her own space for the question of identity and opens it up for the broader discussion. I very much appreciate that*

Afua Hirsch in conversation with Heleen Debeuckelaere.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

BUNCH OF KUNST by fariba mosleh

Musique au cinéma, an exciting format at Cinéma Aventure in Brussels.
I saw them last year at their first concert in Vienna at Flex and it simply blew my mind away - fantastic sound by beatmaker Andrew Fearn and incredible lyrics plus performance by Jason Williamson. Together these two English guys form SLEAFORD MODS and with their manager Steve Underwood they took on the music business on their very own grass-roots terms. They’ve won ever growing attention throughout Britain, Europe and beyond within the last 4 to 5 years through creating a simply unique and contemporary form of punk rock.
Christine Franz, German director, accompanied them at the perfect period of time on the edge of bedroom recording, part-time musicians performing in tiny bars till their absolute break-through at Glastonbury Festival 2016 - which concluded in a fantastic documental portrait.

by Christina Franz 2017

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

The art guru* by fariba mosleh

Last Thursday I went to the first gallery opening in this very young year and it was also my first time at this gallery called Damien and the love Guru in my neighborhood, which I pass nearly everyday.
10th of January - when I reached the building and saw the incredible big crowd in front of and in the gallery it seemed that these young hipsters literally were following the call of a guru. It was hardly possible to enter the gallery or walk through the group show, see the works or to realize what’s going on in the performance … I can see the works another day … I assume the party mood is linked to the fact that there is an art school in the same street and it’s students are part of the show … the works itself don’t tell anything so far, except that I can’t find a link to the stated curatorial background of Timothy Morton’s thoughts on the future.

I know - it’s always a lot easier to criticize (in a non-constructive way), but I am gradually getting frustrated about such weak and powerless gallery presentations - even though the huge audience had a great start into a long night.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

Goodbye 2018 * Hello 2019! by fariba mosleh

(C)armen Subota

Wow, it was a cultural, art intensive, and especially a highly political year! Including a job and country-change … It’s time to submerge myself for some time in order to refuel new energy for 2019.
*Bonne année * Gelukkig nieuwjaar * Happy new year * Gutes neues Jahr *

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

The potential of revolution?! by fariba mosleh

Voilà, my brusselsARTproject, what actually is a kind of an experiment experiencing what’s going on art and culture-wise in Europeans’s informal capital, ends with my first evening at KVS, Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg, and the premiere of My revolution is better than yours, directed by Brussels-based Serbian theater maker and performer Sanja Mitrovic, produced by Caravan Production.
Well, revolution - currently one of Europeans most controversial political topics in times of neo-nationalism, local as well as pan-national movements and Jilet Jaune for instance. Mitrovic takes a look back into European history of revolution in the 20th century around 1968 and stages diverse personalities who’s life had become being revolutionaries. Starting and ending a theatre piece with a refugee from Africa giving a kind of prologue and epilogue and in between functioning as the observer of this euro-centric rehabilitation of revolutionary icons to me seems quite problematic. I would have preferred the refugee, who introduced himself as an artist living in Europe, being part of the performance - not a framework, but a performer, an artist like the others on stage.
Still, what caught my attention was the power and energy this piece broadcasted via it’s play with green-screen techniques and the sound design by Vladimir PejkoviĆ. Somehow they made it possible to put all this in time and space different events and personalities into a contemporaneity, which is quite exciting.

(c) Martin Argyroglo

(c) Martin Argyroglo

One of my wishes for 2019 - let’s become more revolutionary on stages of institutions like the KVS! In front of as well as behind the scenes - stage socio-political realities, which means diversity!

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

La danse avec le canard* by fariba mosleh

Chesterfield - sofas, sometimes endlessly long, always leather … the Austro-Frensh dancer and choreographer Alix Eynaudi with history at Rosas and P.A.R.T.S. showed her latest piece Chesterfield at Kaai Studios. Based on the research at Vienna’s Volkskunde Museum she developed an object based dance performance for brut Wien last year, now touring. Lucky me that I could see the production my Alix whom I know from Vienna. She performed with the 3 other dancers Mark Lorimer, Quim Pujol and Cécile Tonizzo. It is a strong, partly silent and poetic as well as intimate performance. Absolute highlight for me was Alix’s appearance performing with a leather duck with luminous eyes.
Take your chance to see it at BUDA in Kortrijk in February for instance.

(C) Christine Miess

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

From exhibition to meeting the author* by fariba mosleh

This week’s Wednesday eve was divided into exhibition opening and lecture.

First, I passed the opening of the current artist’s in residence exhibition at WIELS. For the exhibition on the myth of The Divine Goat the Greek resident Yiannis Skarimbas did a collaborative work with all the other residents currently working at WIELS. I think that’s a really nice approach, even though the presentation didn’t really say a lot to me … yet, it produced a nice winterly atmosphere.

Well, we hopped further and had the great pleasure to attend a reading by Austrian writer Arno Geiger and a conversation with Belgian writer and philosopher Geert van Istendael at Bozar, organized by the Austrian Cultural Forum. Geiger’s latest book Unter der Drachenwand has been published in Flemish Onder de Drachenwand - this was a good occasion to talk about the genesis of this piece, which he has been working on for more than 10 years and about his remaining œvre. It was such a good in-depth talk about Geiger’s research for the book, which is a kind of “Gesellschaftsroman” counting the story of people in a small village near Mondsee in Austria in the year 1944, from the perspective of not knowing that the war is going to an end. Though Geiger is an historian he tried to completely fade out his knowledge, didn’t research with secondary literature but only reading primary sources as thousands of pages of letters from that time. That’s what makes the novel is so special, thrilling and recommendable. In conversation with Istendael Geiger was so well reflected and quick on the comeback - also when it came to contemporary (Austrian) right and nationalist politics.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

the history of the SELF !? by fariba mosleh

The day after the largest demonstration on the topic of climate change Belgium ever had seen, Kaai Theatre invited to the second conversation with experts on the 2018/19 season’s leitmotif Authenticity and Beyond: Conversation #2 Phillipp Blom From the Age of Enlightenment to climate change: a history of the self.
After Didier Eribon for the first talk in September, they now invited German historian Phillipp Blom and introduced him as the chronicler of the self. Guy Gypens, artistic director of Kaai Theater, welcomed with words on how similar we people are becoming, forcing a same lifestyle, buying and consuming the same products etc. … as a result of the longing for authenticity? What is the self meant to be in a time of hyper consumerism, globalization and neoliberalism?

Phillipp Blom is one of the scholars you listen to and find each sentence striking (at least I am) … it was a pleasure to follow his remarks and diving into the topic of the self, which he underlined to be a product of enlightenment. Blom stated that modernity has created a new kind of person, who could read, write, and earn money - a middle class, which also claimed political rights for the first time in history. The self in western oriented society has become a contradiction. Especially for artists the self seems to be so important on the one hand, but art is so much produced in a hardly reflected canon of neoliberal structures. People thriving for identity in a digital world - doesn’t that feel paradox?!
Well, I love the in-depth framework program on the season’s topic of Kaai consisting of performances, conversations, debates and a symposium. They even invited scholar Rudi Learmans to write an essay on the issue, which is freely availably for all people interested. Looking forward to the next one.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

Working*Title*Festival by fariba mosleh

WorkSpaceBrussels is a really great organisation which facilitates artists of diverse disciplines (with a slight focus to performing arts) with space, network, funding, cooperation partners or the like. They are cooperating with several smaller and larger institutions in Brussels (and beyond) like Kaai Theatre, Kanal Centre Pompidou or Les Brigittines, and they are working with local as well as international artists.
Twice a year WorkSpaceBrussels offers a wonderful chance for the audience as well as the artists with the WorkingTitleFestival - as the heading already reveals, the one-weekend long festival is meant to open the artists’ studios and give the interested crowd the possibility to get into touch with their current work in progress. I find this approach quite nice on several levels - the artists kind of have to sum up their work in a interim’s stadium, they can reflect upon their work with visitors and colleges, and there are maybe producers, curators, gallerists, collectors passing by … so it can mean a drive for their work in progress.

For me it was a special pleasure to visit Flup Marinus and his brother Tuur Marinus, who are current residents. I’ve been working with Flup a year ago for an exhibition in Vienna at Krinzinger Projekte. Now the brothers are working on the quite exciting Stereoscope Project using a 100-year old kind of first 3D photographs and transforming them via painting into contemporary 3D photo objects.
Further we got an impression L’Océan, a performative project the artist Clara Guémas is working on. She works with and researches on newcomers in Brussels and their views on certain issues, perspectives and backgrounds.
At the studio of Antje van Wichelen we confronted ourselves with past, present and future possibilities of face surveillance and the indexing of face categorization linked to stereotype classification - The recognition machine.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

Parliamentart* by fariba mosleh

The Artothek of the Republic of Austria, containing of about 37.000 works of Austrian artists (collected via annually selections by a jury) has chosen around 16 pieces to travel to the European Parliament in Brussels and to be shown in a 6-months exhibition during the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
I took the chance to see the selected works and went on a guided tour (only possible way). It was my first time in the European Parliament - and art is the best occasion to do so. On the way to the temporary exhibition Artspace Austria we saw several works from the collection of the European Union, from Peter Doig for instance. Some nice pieces. Most of them on a “functional” display which doesn’t “disturb” daily business in the building where European politics are/could be made.
So the Artspace Austria - on the walls of a busy corridor where most of the people have to pass - so it’s really seen - in a non-art environment. There where some a few good works by Austrian artists as Eva Schlegel or Ona B. for instance. But the selection of the work was all in all weak, kind of arbitrary and not at all a strong statement of contemporary Art originated in Austria. Yet, what does this corridor and walls even allow? …
And of course, unfortunately we are not allowed to share any pics with you.

I’ve to confess, my personnel highlight of the visit was seeing Guy Verhofstadt passing us :)

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

Cut around the world @ studioOne BXL by fariba mosleh

Every hair needs some love - so we invited our dear Carmen Subota to make a stop @ studioOne Brussels to spread some love with her unique project cut around the world for artists, friends and neighbors. After Barcelona, New York, Vienna or Traiskirchen (AT) it was fantastic to organise an event with this wonderful person and stylist in Brussels. And the best - to be continued in spring 2019 outdoor :)

Meanwhile check out her website and find Carmen as Stylist in residence at Frau Schneider in Vienna.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

really? by fariba mosleh

I don’t want to sound like a fine art spectator entering contemporary exhibitions stating “what’s that? art? everybody can do that.”, and the like … BUT as a person who is following artistic practises, in all kinds of forms and around the world, for more than a decade, sometimes it is actually hard to keep calm and not freaking out when entering a high-end top gallery in Brussels seeing the solo show of a under 30 year old artists presenting, in this case, about 10 monochromatic large scale paintings in this great rooms. I enter - quite open-minded - and can’t other than ask myself really ??
Yes, of course I can find links to art history, to contemporary approaches, I can define it as daring and provocative, reflect upon technical experiments of the artist, I can talk to the art crowd which came for the opening and find interesting relations … yes, it makes one talk about it, and that’s maybe more moving than some other boring exhibitions which try to do something new or trendy. But woMan - we are talking about art pieces of young guys which are on the market for (ten)thousands of Euros, taking the spaces for works which are so much more interesting and contemporary.

But he might have achieved his aim making me feel weird and annoyed … and the dialogue with other artists whom I respect a lot makes me calm down a bit after seeing such presentations. They are not angry about such developments, they are more concerned about the pulverisation and exploitation of young artists. One artists points out the short-living of such practises of young artists, he asked me ,what do you think he gonna do in ten years?`…

(c) Carmen Subota

Yet, such an evening is completely saved if it ends with two very close friends and a lot of fun at a concert at Beursschouwburg - British-Nigerian producer Tony Njoku and before the Bombataz from Brussels … even though this could end up in another discussion about really?

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

play*ground by fariba mosleh

Already for the 12th time two quite different art institutions in Leuven, a beautiful town about 25km or a half hour train ride away from Brussels, cooperate, and open their houses for artists experimenting on the intersection of performance and visual art at the PLAYGROUND Festival. This year the festival took place from 15th to 18th of November again at Museum Leuven and STUK - House for dance, image and sound. The festival title refers to the aim that the local and international more “emerging” than “established” artists from various fields should be given the chance to experiment within their artistic practise and - for those performing or presenting at Museum Leuven - getting into dialogue with the institution, the building, the permanent exhibitions and collections there.

“Playground” and the fact that the festival is scheduled during the whole day and in the eves might also suggest that it is an really vivid art festival for people of all ages … well, this year’s edition at Museum Leuven, where happens more the day program, came up with quite reluctant and sensitive performances. It is a kind of art history museum with a quite contemporary approach and also contemporary art exhibitions in a new & old architecture-wise interesting building in the city centre. I would like to mention the performance and installation Grammatica in the lobby; performance artist Evelien Cammaert and visual artist Joris Perdieus joint for the creation of a work which plays with the process of creating a piece of art. Using recent technological material discussing a highly art historical topic - the studio situation in the evolvement process of a canvas painting. Cammaert and Perdieus are sharing a quite unique and intimate moment with the audience. Grammatica opens up a mental space for the spectator, slowing down the individual’s speed and making it possible to let ones thoughts flow, at least for the period of the performance.
I further would like to mention the interventions by the artist Grace Schwindt, who designed costumes for two performers which she positioned in different rooms among the objects and visitors of the permanent collection - interacting with them with a minimum of movement, but a lot of power and for me as well humour. Addressing “humour” I’ve also to note these two strange but lovely big dolls dresses in swim suits made out for tulle moving around the ground floor of the museum within the performance Les Baigneurs referring to a plentitude of art history - a funny and visually catchy performance by Clédat & Petitpierre.
Whereas the evening program and performances at the fantastic highly interdisciplinary STUK building came up with a more powerful and “louder” program (which I couldn’t really enjoy as I had two girls on my side pleaguing me to drive back home ;).

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.