Risquons-tout is an ambitious thematic group exhibition at the Wiels Museum in which 38 contemporary artists explore risk, the unpredictable while using unexplored alternative rules. Much of it revolves around transgressions and the changes that digital culture and artificial intelligence bring in our consciousness and imagination.
in 2016 street artist Chris Devins launched a GoFundMe page to finance a mural on the facade of the building where Michelle Obama grew up. After raising $12 000, he unveiled a portrait of the first lady as an Egyptian Queen.
Born in Vietnam, Thao Nguyen Phan is a multimedia artist who draws inspiration from the rich and tumultuous history of her country of origin. Monsoon Melody is an exhibition that shows three of her most recent projects: Tropical Siesta (2017), Mute Grain (2019) and Becoming Alluvium (2019) which are video installations accompanied by paintings and drawings. The inspiration is taken from the narrative of Vietnam and in particular its turbulent history during the French and Japanese occupation as well as the repression under the early era of communism. the paintings that accompany the films are using traditional techniques such as lacquer painting, silk painting or watercolor in a critical and contemporary way.
Dream of March and August
This series of silk paintings accompanies the film ‘Mute Grainâ€™, made by the artist in 2019. The film and the accompanying paintings take as their starting point a 1945 famine that took place in Vietnam and is believed to have caused the death of over 2 million people.
â€˜Dream of March and Augustâ€™, takes its name from the two protagonists of the film â€˜Mute Grainâ€™, a brother and a sister who are separated by the death of the sister and they exist in parallel worlds, one living, one dead and they are always searching for one another.
These beautiful dreamlike paintings are hung in couplets as if brother and sister are always side by side, supporting one another while being divided.
There are some 34 silk paintings in this series and they are suspended in pairs, they are spot lit, the light travels through them, they have a certain kind of votive or devotional quality.
They are very slow somehow in their pacing, they are extremely beautiful, they are almost naÃ¯ve, there is almost a kind of sentimentality to the imagery, but as always in Thaoâ€™s work it is undercut by a hint of violence, by certain jarring notes that make us question what story it is sheâ€™s trying to tell.
Thereâ€™s often these strange juxtapositions of very classical or fairylike imagery with certain objects that for the artist are kind of symbols of the modernization of Vietnam, for example a conveyor belt or an escalator, these things that are kind of typical of the shopping center or the airport, these moments of transition.
Voyages de Rhodes
In the series titled â€˜Voyages de Rhodesâ€™, Thao-NguyÃªn Phan takes a book written by French Jesuit missionary Alexandre de Rhodes (1591â€“1660) which describes his travel experiences and observations, including in the region of present-day Vietnam, during the seventeenth century as her canvas.
Phanâ€™s visual interpretation his stories that mixes her own paintings, which she places on particular pages of this book, that she has carefully removed and individually framed.
Close to a hundred pages are framed perpendicular to the wall, as if the book itself is daring to transform its own significance.
Phanâ€™s interventions in the book interweave different narratives that sit between realism and fantasy.
Reflecting upon the problematic communist agrarian reforms in post-war Vietnam that led to the redistribution of land and collective farming.
The WIELS Contemporary art center has reopened its doors after a few months under lock-down so that the public could have one last chance to see the current exhibits as they have not been extended past their initially planned of late August deadline.
After a career that spawned over two decades Wolfgang Tillmans’: Today Is The First Day was the 1st ever time us Belgian fans got a chance to see his work in one of our museums. His previous exhibits were shown in famous institutions such as the Tate Modern in 2017 and is moving next to the MoMA in 2021.
Wolfgang Tillmans is an artist who has pushed the boundaries of photography and image creation. He first got noticed in the early ’90’s for pictures of his entourage and the techno music scene. His photos got picked up in a few urban culture magazines like i-D and Spex that documented alternative lifestyles linked to the techno and LGBTQI communities. In 2000, Wolfgang Tillmans was the first photographer to win the Turner Prize.
If you missed this interesting exhibition at the Wiels or are interested to get to know his work, above and below are some of the pictures I took during the exhibit.