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WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, presents 2023 programme

2023 Program

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels presents 2023 program.

Danai Anesiadou: D POSSESSIONS
January 28–April 23, 2023 

Danai Anesiadou’s largest show to date, D POSSESSIONS, is her first major institutional solo in Belgium. The exhibition pulls back the curtain on our contemporary apocalyptic era, offering an allegorical scenography of the current energy crisis. At its heart is the collection of Anesiadou’s material things, alchemized into sculptural assemblages with purifying properties. They are a vector for metamorphosis, an exorcism of our protracted present, where the only constant is change.

Curated by: Helena Kritis 
Co-production by WIELS and EMST, Athens

Marc Camille Chaimowicz: Nuit Américaine  
February 17–August 13, 2023 

Marc Camille Chaimowicz is an inconspicuous pioneer who has consistently sailed against the prevailing artistic winds since the 1970s, when he began his career in London. Embracing the decorative arts in response to claims for the autonomy of fine art, his oeuvre has merged design, painting, printmaking, collage, and his daily life into a highly personal lexicon that continues to impact younger artists throughout the past 50 years. Chaimowicz’s WIELS exhibition combines one of his earliest installations with two new bodies of work, fusing past and present: the immersive Celebration? Realife Revisited (1972-2000); a recreation of his sitting room over the last 40 years; and a series of new collages inspired by the figure of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.

Curated by: Zoë Gray 

Shezad Dawood: Night in the Garden of Love  
May 18–August 13, 2023 

Shezad Dawood analyzes the poetic possibilities of the garden as a space of creation and optimism in the face of climate change in this new project. In his choice of the garden, he draws on ancient and cross-cultural symbolism, but is especially influenced by the writings, music, and philosophy of Yusef Lateef (1920-2013), a US-American jazz musician, composer, and artist whose sci-fi novella gives Dawood’s project its evocative title: Night in the Garden of Love. Dawood’s garden includes digital plants that develop in front of our eyes using algorithms based on Lateef’s music, as well as weavings derived on Lateef’s artwork. Lateef’s views about the restorative capacity of music and art are thus combined with Dawood’s dynamic transdisciplinary technique to tackle serious current questions filled with optimism and beauty.

Curated by: Zoë Gray & Helena Kritis 
Produced in partnership with the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto

Tapta, with Greet Billet, Hana Miletić, Richard Venlet  
May 18–August 13, 2023 

Tapta (aka Maria Wierusz-Kowalski, 1926-1997), a Polish-Belgian artist, dramatically revolutionized sculpture in the 1960s by combining fabrics and other flexible materials as sculptural elements. At the same time, she promoted textile art and weaving techniques outside of the ornamental arts and crafts categories. This exhibition, which departs from Tapta’s practice as an artist and teacher at the Institute of Architecture and Visual Arts, La Cambre, focuses on some of the central issues that Tapta developed her works around: the tactility of materials, the suppleness of structures, the dynamics of falling and resting, reflection, light, site-specificity, and the interaction between artwork, space, and viewer. Greet Billet, Hana Mileti, and Richard Venlet, artists/professors, re-examine Tapta’s practice.

Curated by: Liesbeth Decan 
In collaboration with the Photography Expanded Research Group at LUCA School of Arts Brussels

Francis Alÿs: The Nature of the Game 
September 7, 2023–January 7, 2024 

Francis Als’ camera has caught children playing in public settings throughout his numerous trips across the world since 1999. Playing, like eating and sleeping, is an important human need, and children’s games are universal. His spontaneous ethnographic films capture the force of cultural tradition as well as children’s lighthearted attitudes, even in the midst of serious conflict. A series of miniature paintings by Als, also created while traveling, give a distinct perspective on reality in his signature poetic realist approach.

Francis Als’ show for the Belgian Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale is titled The Nature of the Game. The initial iteration of this show was created by curator Hilde Teerlinck and Francis Als, and it has been re-adapted for its second presentation.

Curated by: Dirk Snauwaert & Hilde Teerlinck  

Thea Djordjadze   
October 6, 2023–January 7, 2024 

Thea Djordjadze’s artistic practice is guided by a process of informed intuition. Her sculptures are frequently influenced by design and architecture, notably those of the Modernist era. Her sculptures respond to the environments in which they are created. She builds a new body of work for WIELS’s post-industrial architecture, exploring and criticizing not just the physical and material elements of the structure, but also its institutional environment. Many new works are included in the exhibition, including an on-site improvisation utilizing her evocative vocabulary of sculptural paintings and painterly sculptures.

Curated by: Zoë Gray 
In co-production with EUROPALIA GEORGIA

Tekla Aslanishvili: A State in a State  
September 21–October 29, 2023 

A State in a State, Tekla Aslanishvili’s new film, covers the development, disruption, and fragmentation of railroads in the South Caucasus and Caspian areas. It investigates railways as the materialization of the unstable political frontiers that have re-emerged since the Soviet Union’s demise. This iron basis of connectivity, however, can be utilized as a tool of exclusion and geopolitical sabotage. Examining historical and contemporary forms of resistance A State in a State looks at how railroads might foster a different kind of infrastructure consciousness and long-lasting transnational solidarity among the people who live and work near them.

Produced by The Han Nefkens Foundation, Barcelona; with the support of Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona; NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore; WIELS, Brussels; Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) Manila and Art Jameel, Dubai.  

In collaboration with Han Nefkens Foundation

Performative programme

Indiscipline at Knokke-Heist
April 1, 2023 

Indiscipline is a one-day annual event including performances and experimental interventions at the Grand Casino in the Belgian beach town of Knokke-Heist. The casino, known for its rich art and film history, especially the famed EXPRMNTL film festival (1947-1974), provides an unusual and unexpected backdrop that invites new forms of perception, experience, and corporeality. Mounira Al Solh, Darius Dolatyari, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Emmilou Rösling, Stine Janvin, and Xavier Garcia Bardon are among those featured on EXPRMNTL.

Curated by: Dirk Snauwaert & Helena Kritis 
In collaboration with Knokke-Heist and Jester, Genk

Nikima Jagudajev: Basically 
April 22 and 23, 2023 

Nikima Jagudajev’s practice examines social forms, social relations as spatial relations, and how we come together in meaningful and thoughtful ways. In their durational live project Basically, Jagudajev uses play choreography to attract visitors into the WIELS intermediate spaces. Jagudajev’s worldbuilding is co-created with a group of artists, resulting in a hybrid setting that contains live music, food, a deck of cards, and nonlinear dance choreographies that fold in on themselves like time portals. This shaky world is shared by both performers and tourists.

Curated by: Helena Kritis 
In collaboration with Dhaka Art Summit 

Billy Bultheel and James Richards: Workers in Song  
September 9 and 10, 2023 

Composer Billy Bultheel and artist James Richards collaborated to create Workers in Song, an immersive performance event. The concept is inspired by the silent film tradition of combining moving images with live accompaniment, and it is based on study into occult photography and spectral music. Workers in Song will take the form of a media installation of moving projection displays set against a live performance by four musicians. Bultheel and Richards challenge new technological breakthroughs as places for the projections of our anxieties and aspirations as they navigate the technology of mimicry, deep-fakes, and ghost images.

Curated by: Helena Kritis 
Co-commission by WIELS, Batalha Porto and Mudam Luxembourg 

WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354
1190 Brussels
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm

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