JESSE CREMERS - LORE SMOLDERS - BENOÎT FELIX - ALICE JANNE
JÉRÔME DEGIVE & MANUEL FALCATA (former Atelier Pica Pica)
For this exhibition Eva Steynen invited Benoit Felix to make a group-show, giving him a 'carte blanche'. On his turn Felix invited five artists to make an ensemble out of their individual works and in response to each-others. At the basis the concept of playing cards with art works.
After being postponed twice due to the Covid pandemic, the title being changed due to a shift in actuality, an artist trio being split into a duo... we finally can present you 'Contagion'. The exhibition is build-up in collectivity, no curator, to let the works intertwine, to contribute to 'contagion' each-other.
Interview with Benoît Felix about the concept of the exhibition. (for FR see below)
- Can artworks be 'contagious' to each-other?
Benoit Felix : Let's take the concept of 'aura' and 'set theory' and bring bring them together into an exhibition. We will see the 'aura' in the role of the ensemble and in what happens on the intersection of each individual 'auras' between the different art works, by which the artists where guided during the construction of this exhibition.
- The Artists? Not a curator?
B.F. : No, no, the curator is the idea what can happen in between the works. Bringing together a group of artists around this concept of what could happen on the intersections, what 'reflects' from the works we decided to put into this game...
B.F. : Yes, playing to see what could happen through proximity of your works, in relation to the others. I have proposed this game to some artists that I like – there are certainly others. But because of the limitation of the space I have chosen five artists.
- Jesse Cremers, Lore Smolders, Alice Janne and Jérome Degive & Manuel Falcata (former Atelier Pica Pica).
B.F. : That's it!
- Jérôme Degive & Manuel Falcata, isn't that Atelier Pica Pica?
B.F. : Yes two out of the three...
- Did they split?
B.F. : I think that you better ask to them. I invited Atelier Pica Pica because in my opinion this concept of intersection - how each-other's acts can be contaminated - is at the basis of their work. The works they show are always the result of ideas that remain separate, but will converge into one work. In the end nobody can say 'this is mine'. Jérome and Manual continue this concept of fusion, or a mutuel echo...
- The intersection, on the cross contaminations of sense, can happen in between the art-works, the manner in which through their proximity they can be seen as mutual interpretants, in a way that they parasite each-other by approximation...These are aspects we find in your own work. When you make your own a solo exhibition, we see the works playing in between each-other.
B.F. : Yes of course! The theme is posed around the question: can the play can be plaid by more than one? The artists that are engaged in this exhibition seemed to me to be familiar with these questions. It seemed evident for Alice Janne and Lore Smolders.
Alice Janne collects little objects during her walks in the streets. Objects that people have drawn away, sometimes by accident. To these found objects she says: “You are not small, you are great!”, by methodically enlarging these objects she shows us things for whom we close are eye everyday. During an exhibition she spreads these large objects/works in the space. As if she enlarges all these objects that we have drown away, just to draw them around again, only this time in an exposition, the space where we finally will stop and see them... For this exhibition she shows only one of these objects – next to new works she's occupied with at the moment. I think she's quite at ease with this game of playing cards I invited her for together with other artists...
- Contagion... Playing cards you said?
B.F. : Yes, I proposed to play cards, playing cards with art-woks: “You show me one and... Oh! Look! We didn't know if we had a artwork that could answer so much to the work of someone else.
- The problem with playing card is that there is always one that wins.
B.F. : Yes, that is through... and that should not be the problem in the arts: we shall make 'une réussite' as in the solitaire card game, but together.
- Ah! Ah!... And Lore Smolders?
B.F. : Lore is like reading with one letter changed. She makes series of objects that are letters, fragile letters that brake when you manipulate them, that on their term, become new letters. Or the idea that we create to ourselves to believe there is an handwriting – as an archeologist – until we realize, at the moment we start reading, that we don't understand anything. An archeologist like someone who's eating 'nicnacs'.
When Lore puts these series of poor letters close to her other work, we automatically refer to it as a combined art work – that, of course, took my interest for this exhibition. Next to these letters, Lore works on a series of drawings that could be seen as a comment to, or a ground-plan for, something else. They could be seen as a using instruction or an exposition plan... giving a comment on a art-work that we were perhaps searching somewhere else. It would be funny to ask Lore to make for this exhibition a series of ground-plans, without knowing the result of course, because we will construct the exhibition by playing cards with the works.
- But for the installation of this exhibition, when you want to play cards like you say, you all have to know very well each others art work? It's only through a certain kind of knowledge about the work of the others that you can choose which work you will bring to play cards with? What is not always the case in a group-show.
B.F. : Yes. We came together a few times, during these meetings each artist has made a global presentation about his or her work, about his or her concepts... In general, it's trough, we artists have a tendency to see the work of the other through one or two images we've seen from the other's work.
- And Jesse Cremers?
B.F. : Ah! Yesse... With him, in my opinion, can it move, it moves... His artworks are utensils to climb up, to move, sometimes they dangerous for himself, it is said. They don't stay in place, they are always somewhere else than where they were, they crash: when you suddenly understand, there is something that falls... Momentarily Jesse sculpts objects in cork: everyday objects, objects to consume... As if he would like to make these objects lighter for us in cork. They could float on water if we would draw them in (it would give the advantage to see pollution immediately)
- But what about playing cards?
B.F. : Yes, perhaps it will be a geographical book of cards, cards to scratch, “cartes mères” (motherboards), bank-cards... – who knows? - we will see at the end of the exhibition (not the artists have all the cards...), each of us brings, lets say, material to answer...
- With the respondent!
B.F. : Yes, good point! Artworks from our body of art are put into the game – are put at risk in the presence of the works of the others – but also in order to respond directly, to act on place...
We shall see.
Felicien Beni, Interview with Benoît Felix, August 2021