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Brussels Art Fair, Performances platform, WIELS

With the artists:
Davide Balula, Malena Beer, Oliver Beer, Hsia-Fei Chang, Giuseppe Chico & Barbara Matijevic, Antonio Contador, Guillaume Desanges, Carole Douillard, Ninar Esber, Esther Ferrer, Sergej Jensen, Liz Magic Laser, Estefania Penafiel Loaiza, Dan Perjovschi.

Curator : Agnès Violeau
Experienz is an experimental, nomadic platform focusing on Living Arts. For this new edition entitled Materializing the Social, Experienz #2 addresses the notion of biopolitics, a concept created in 1974 by Michel Foucault to designate the kind of power exercised not on geographical territories, but on individuals and populations. The invited artists will address notions of resistance, of biopower, of the government of the self on others, of the individual’s relation to groups and norms; the encounter between the physical and the social body. Conceiving art as a tool for transformation, in the tradition of Susan Sontag, Joseph Beuys, Fluxus and Allan Kaprow, the interventions stimulate dialogue between the artists and the public, while the energy generated by body movement and gesture potentiality offer an urgent response to imposed discourses. The Greeks had a term, “parrhesia”, which meant the capacity to state a clear position, to speak truly and affirm a personal conviction in public. It also implied that speaking freely exposed one to great risk. Here and now, it translates the desire to help others progress.

“Performance art is a permissive, open-ended medium with endless variables, executed by artists impatient with the limitations of more established art forms.” RoseLee Goldberg

Art as a tool for social integration, in line with the work and ideas of Joseph Beuys, is a constant source of inspiration for the stage. But what is the tone of today’s world? The sky is rather dark and heavy. The rise of fundamentalisms, globalisation purporting to bring progress yet dragging us into a constant flux of information, enslaving us to collective thought and common opinions. The acute individualism of our western societies leads to the gradual disappearance of the sense of solidarity, the disintegration of traditional family structures, etc. These ruptures are in turn provoking zones of resistance, illustrated here by this concentrated set of performative, activist propositions which operate on a distanced, sometimes ironic, mode.

This year, Experienz is taking over the Wiels, the lung of contemporary art in Belgium. A nomadic platform for live artistic experiences, open to all, Experienz #2 offers an eclectic programme of 18 artists from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds (Lebanon, United States, Ecuador, UK, Portugal, France, Taiwan, etc.).

From the subtle analysis of the gesturality of political discourse with Liz Magic Laser, to the body as a spatio-temporal tool in an identified architectural space with Malena Beer, to a ritualised performance by Ninar Esber, methodically sifting through grains in accordance with their colour and quality, or again to the sound statement by Oliver Beer about the civic role of the artist today – all these pieces are performative propositions whose content is both political and personal (the self in relation to the other). A completely new exchange of experiences with a public placed in a state of extreme self-awareness, sometimes provoked by words, gestures, stories and actions, all experienced in real time. Lastly, a round table will bring together collectors of immaterial art, artists and curators, including art historian RoseLee Goldberg, founder of the Performa festival in New-York, on the question “How to collect/show performance art today?”

All these tableaux vivants will be rounded off with a noise concert by New York artist Sergej Jensen. “To be with art is all we ask” said the artists Gilbert and George in the 1970s, and this could be the postulate of this new edition.

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