Sunday, July 27, 2014

Art and Migration at the Egmont Palace

Thinking about swallows in my previous post I was intrigued to see a small but powerful exhibition in the perhaps ironically or incongruously elegant and sumptuous grand staircase of Egmont Palace today on my way back from a shopping trip. Exploring the themes of Art and Migration it was called 'Textile-Ile' and was based around four 17th century Brussels tapestries which hang in this space and which represent the four continents, Africa, Asia, Europe and America

The contemporary work included three sculptures; Belgian artist Belinde De Bruychere, whose 'Spreken' 1999 was made with wax and fabrics, Pascael Marthine Tayo's- 'Colonial Erection' in the courtyard and Ghanayan artist El Anatsu's 'Hesitant Rivers', an exquisite woven 'fabric' made from discarded materials.  

There were two video installations: Jean Factory by Turkish artists Ali Kazma which its syncopated  rhythmic movements of interaction between humans and machines on a production line recalled for me the dehumanising conveyer belt sequence in Charlie Chaplin's 'Modern Times' from 1936  but with non of the humour and slap stick - just a lyrical stark realism.

Hans Op De Beeck's 'Dance' was a powerful and moving choreography featuring a large group of people acting out a series of dance like ordinary and archetypal gestures that evoked the patterns on textiles and the movement of crowds through airport migration controls but also suggested darker and more disturbing memories of possible death camps reminiscent of Christian Boltanski's photography and installation. Beautifully filmed and choreographed, almost like an Anne Theresa de Keersmaeker, with an equally haunting sound track, this video was the emotionally charged highlight for me of an unexpected encounter during a routine shopping trip to Brussels. 

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