“Matters of Concern | Matières à panser”: an exhibition series at La Verrière

2019
2021
Camille Blatrix
Installation view of Camille Blatrix, "Les Barrières de l'antique", 2019, La Verrière © Isabelle Arthuis
Camille Blatrix
Installation view of Camille Blatrix, "Les Barrières de l'antique", 2019, La Verrière © Isabelle Arthuis
Camille Blatrix
Installation view of Camille Blatrix, "Les Barrières de l'antique", 2019, La Verrière © Isabelle Arthuis
Badalov
Babi Badalov Exhibition view of « Soul Mobilisation », La Verrière (Bruxelles), 2019 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Badalov
Babi Badalov Exhibition view of « Soul Mobilisation », La Verrière (Bruxelles), 2019 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
badalov
Babi Badalov Exhibition of « Soul Mobilisation », La Verrière (Bruxelles), 2019 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Vue de l’exposition de Minia Biabiany, « Musa Nuit », La Verrière (Bruxelles), 2020
Exhibition view, Minia Biabiany, "Musa Nuit", La Verrière (Bruxelles), 2020 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Vue de l’exposition de Minia Biabiany, « Musa Nuit », La Verrière (Bruxelles), 2020 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Exhibition view, Minia Biabiany, "Musa Nuit", La Verrière (Bruxelles), 2020 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Vue de l’exposition de Minia Biabiany, « Musa Nuit », La Verrière (Bruxelles), 2020 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Exhibition view, Minia Biabiany, "Musa Nuit", La Verrière (Bruxelles), 2020 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Vue de l’exposition de Barbara Chase-Riboud, « Avatars »
View of the Barbara Chase-Riboud exhibition, ‘‘Avatars’’, La Verrière (Brussels), 2020 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Vue de l’exposition de Barbara Chase-Riboud, « Avatars »
Barbara Chase-Riboud, "Zanzibar Gold", 1972, collection of the Centre National des Arts Plastiques, France, La Verrière (Brussels), 2020 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Vue de l’exposition de Barbara Chase-Riboud, « Avatars »
View of the Barbara Chase-Riboud exhibition, ‘‘Avatars’’, La Verrière (Brussels), 2020 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Gianni Pettena 2021
View of the Gianni Pettena exhibition, ‘‘Forgiven by Nature’’, 2021, La Verrière, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Gianni Pettena 2021
Gianni Pettena, "Paper (Midwestern Ocean)", performance-installation, 1971-2021, ISELP, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Gianni Pettena 2021
Detail of the Gianni Pettena exhibition, ‘‘Forgiven by Nature’’, 2021, La Verrière, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Gianni Pettena 2021
Gianni Pettena, "Paesaggi della memoria" (detail), 1987, sand, plexiglass, light, La Verrière, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
mountaincutters
View of the exhibition of mountaincutters, "Les Indices de la respiration primitive", La Verrière (Brussels), 2021 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
mountaincutters
View of the exhibition of mountaincutters, "Les Indices de la respiration primitive", La Verrière (Brussels), 2021 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
mountaincutters
View of the exhibition of mountaincutters, "Les Indices de la respiration primitive", La Verrière (Brussels), 2021 © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Opening in 2019, “Matters of Concern | Matières à panser” is the third series of exhibitions curated by Guillaume Désanges for La Verrière. Following on from “Des gestes de la pensée” (“Gestures, and thought”) and “Poésie balisitique” (“Ballistic poetry”), this series coheres around a particular attention to materials. With a title borrowed from philosopher Bruno Latour, it features a wide range of different approaches that variously foreground the spiritual, social, symbolic, therapeutic and magical properties attributed to materials. Across the exhibitions that make up the series, new relations between art and the living world, objects and material elements emerge. Désanges offers an open exploration that sets out to pay close attention to, and even to “care” for, materials, as well as to grasp their transformational power.

The inaugural exhibition of the series creates original links between objects and both recent and existing works of art. Its approach goes beyond the traditional hierarchies that govern craft and art, foregrounding magical and therapeutic practices: from artisanal stained glass celebrating Mamadou, the healer of Roubaix, to the cathartic and therapeutic dance of Anna Halprin; from Raymonde Arcier’s feminist dolls to Aline Ribière’s symbolic and organic garments and the shamanic effigies of Harald Thys and Jos de Gruyter. Many of the artists whose work features in the exhibition share a common interest in reconceiving modes of material production and usage by emphasising attention and care. Through their ideas and their gestures, they point to the possibility of a shift in perspective that might allow the world to regain its enchantment.

Visitors to the first exhibition in the series will have noticed the maquettes of Camille Blatrix’s sculptures: a paradoxical choice for an artist who elsewhere seeks to obscure the traces of his physical and gestural interventions. These maquettes offered a foretaste of the themes and atmosphere that permeate this artist’s solo exhibition, curated by Guillaume Désanges and on view at La Verrière from September 5, 2019 as part of the “Matters of Concern| Matières à panser” series. The exhibition’s title, “Les Barrières de l’antique”, evokes the unparalleled virtuosity of the artisans of the past. Camille Blatrix (b. 1984, Paris) here explores the ambiguities of his own relationship to craft through a labyrinthine installation punctuated by objects, marquetry and drawings, as well as interventions by the artist’s father, himself a painter turned shipwright. Infused with the artist’s skill and executed in a quest for perfection, the works on view here subtly elicit unexpected emotions.

The pared-down aesthetic of Camille Blatrix gives way to the exuberance of Babi Badalov in “Soul Mobilisation”, the second solo exhibition presented at La Verrière as part of the “Matters of Concern / Matières à panser” series. Intensely and generously, Badalov’s work invests the whole exhibition space with obsessional calligraphic forms that condense his poetic relationship to language as well as his singular trajectory: he was born in Azerbaijan in 1959, and lived in Russia before emigrating to France, where in 2011 he obtained political refugee status. As a citizen of the world, Badalov offers an oeuvre that is universal in its very essence and intelligible to all, economy of means adding force to its politically engaged tone. With its scrolls and arabesques, at times applied directly to the walls, this work – as verbose as its materials are simple – invites visitors to La Verrière to confront the torment of our world, a welcome “matter of concern”.

The third artist invited by Guillaume Désanges as part of the “Matters of Concern | Matières à panser” series is Minia Biabiany. Her exhibition “Musa Nuit” offers a reflection on the sexuality of contemporary Guadeloupean and Caribbean women and the ways in which history has imprinted itself upon their subconscious. In the Brussels exhibition space, Biabiany presents a sensual, metaphoric journey in which handcrafted objects, sculptures and banana flowers (the titular “musa”) serve to reactivate repressed memories. Born on the French Carribean island of Guadeloupe in 1988, Biabiany views her exhibition as a ritual, allowing her to engage with the question of identity in ways that are both poetic and political.

Political and social issues also inform the work of Barbara Chase-Riboud, whose exhibition “Avatars” opens at La Verrière in September 2020. American by birth, Barbara Chase-Riboud has lived in Paris since 1960. At La Verrière, she presents a selection of monumental sculptures alongside small-format drawings, collages and installations. Their titles – always decided retrospectively by the artist according to her intuition – reveal the extent to which her explorations of form are rooted in the tragic history of the African diaspora, from the transatlantic slave trade to the struggle for civil rights in the United States. Between work from her corpus and new pieces, this exhibition reveals the power of an oeuvre that has, despite a degree of critical recognition, remained somewhat marginalised within contemporary conceptual art. With its total engagement, at once physical and sensitive, Barbara Chase-Riboud’s work on matter constitutes an uncompromising fourth instalment of the “Matters of Concern | Matières à panser” series curated by Guillaume Désanges.

At the start of 2021, the series will continue with an exhibition dedicated to the work of Gianni Pettena, a major figure of the Radical Architecture movement of the 1960s, which worked to counter the rigid conventions that dominated the field at the time. Born in 1940, Pettena is not only an architect but a designer, critic, historian, curator and teacher. He is also an ecological pioneer, having always paid close attention to nature in his work. At La Verrière, the exhibition “Forgiven by Nature” surveys his transversal and resolutely free practice that took him off the beaten track and towards humble materials and a patient, lucid observation of the world. For this ambitious exhibition, La Verrière presents a selection of works and archival documents, as well as a monumental installation created through a collective performance that can be seen at the Institut Supérieur pour l’étude du Langage Plastique (ISELP), a few steps from the main exhibition space. Across these two sites, this exhibition curated by Guillaume Désanges invites the public to (literally) immerse themselves in the visionary practice of Pettena, who defines himself as an “anarchitect” – reflecting his defiance of disciplinary boundaries.

For the seventh exhibition in the series “Matters of Concern | Matières à panser”, La Verrière welcomes French artist duo mountaincutters, who have lived and worked in Brussels since 2015. For their first exhibition in the Belgian capital, the artists present a new body of work based on a site-specific scenography that takes into account the dimensions and the qualities – the height, the form, the lighting – of the exhibition space. Their works, whose hybrid nature lends itself to a certain destabilisation of the viewer, use transitory situations and incomplete forms to shape strange compositions endowed with a savage beauty. Amongst the modified materials and organic fragments that make up their work, carefully handcrafted elements create a subtle tension, to which drawings, films and texts arranged throughout the space also contribute. Through this exhibition and its poetic title, “Les Indices de la respiration primitive” (“Signs of primal breath”), mountaincutters offer an original perspective on the place of humans within the world and its elements, both living and inert.

Disciplines
Visual arts
Lieu
La Verrière
Bruxelles
Belgium
“Matters of Concern | Matières à panser” is the third series of exhibitions curated by Guillaume Désanges for La Verrière.
Many of the artists whose work features in the exhibition share a common interest in reconceiving modes of material production and usage by emphasising attention and care.
Each one of these practices offers a potential avenue for bringing enchantment back into the world.

Informations

Exhibition dates
  • mountaincutters, "Les Indices de la respiration primitive", from 19/06/2021 to 11/09/2021
  • Gianni Pettena, "Forgiven by Nature", from 15/01/2021 to 13/03/2021
  • Barbara Chase-Riboud, "Avatars" from 25/09/2020 to 05/12/2020
  • Minia Biabiany, "Musa Nuit" from 27/06/2020 to 05/09/2020
  • Babi Badalov, "Soul Mobilisation" from 29/11/2019 to 15/02/2020
  • Camille Blatrix, "Les Barrières de l'antique" from 05/09/2019 to 08/11/2019
  • “Matters of Concern | Matières à panser” from 27/04/2019 to 06/07/2019
Practical information

La Verrière
50, boulevard de Waterloo
1000 Brussels Belgium

Free admission, 
Tuesday to Saturday
from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Curator

Guillaume Désanges