Afropolitan Age @ Wiels by fariba mosleh

Wiels, the contemporary museum institution for visual art with an internationally renown residency program. One out of the nine artist’s studios is always reserved for artists from the African continent for a residency from three to six months. Works from African residents between 2015 and 2019 are currently presented in the exhibition Multiple Transmissions: Art in the Afropolitan Age. The exhibition, curated by Sandrine Colard, shows works by eight different artists using diverse media. The presentation itself might be a bit mediocre, the discourse it is contributing to I find extremely important and exciting.
I grew up in a country dealing with the holocaust history. It’s quite different and a personal gain being in a country reflecting upon its colonial history as here in Belgium. I’ve the impression that in the art and culture fields it’s currently done intensively and in diverse ways. Only this year I have been to several multidisciplinary festivals dealing with the topic - Afropolitan Festival, Le FestivalCongolisation, Same same but different Festival at Vooruit in Gent and several others. Local and international culture producers in Belgium really want to face the part of history related to the colonialisation of Congo, which’s interrelations and mutual societal impacts in a way have never been ending.

At the presentation of the 6th edition of the Lubumbashi Biennale (24th of Oct. to 24th Nov. 2019) I was very happy to understand everything, even though it were one and a half our talks by the curators and artists in French. The Biennale is an ambitious and more than important project within rewriting histories and facing current hegemonies within the international art economy. Out of the meanwhile more than 300 art biennials worldwide, only 15 of them take place on the African continent. The more important is the emphasis on that projects and voices, as well as the exchange between diverse local and international artists and art producers.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

7-storey voices* by fariba mosleh

As a big fan of the unique WIELS building in Forest district, I very much like the idea of former Wiels resident, choreographer and performer Ula Sickle to use the 7-storey staircase as stage for a Bauhaus inspired sound performance or intervention as I consider it. InVoice ascending a staircase Ula Sickle & Hyoid are moving backward from ground to top floor, singing and stroking the handrail. A simple and accessible concept.
The piece Relay by Ula Sickle will also be on view at this year’s edition of Wiener Festwochen, first time under the artistic direction of Christoph Slagmylder.

For the whole blog of the brusselsARTproject click here.

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.

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.