Vincent Meessen will discuss his exhibition for the Belgium Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennial Personne et les autres with James Beckett, one of the artists who took part in the show.
Vincent Meessen’s work and artistic research have consistently explored the history and afterlife of colonial modernity. Through the use of various media he re-animates hidden or forgotten narratives of the relationship between Europe and Africa into speculative scenarios, pointing to the colonial matrix of western modernity. Both in his work as an artist and in his para-curatorial activities, Meessen likes to use procedures of collaboration that undermine the authority of the author and emphasize the intelligence of collectives.
Representing Belgium at the 56th Venice Biennial (2015), Vincent Meessen breaks with its (the biennial's) tradition of national representation by proposing Personne et les autres, an exhibition for which he invited 10 international artists. Through the work of the artists, _Personne et les autres _traces a timeline of references that connect the critique of colonial modernity with the so called Western avant-garde movements Dada, CoBrA and the Situationist International (1957-1972) and the emancipation of black people, Pan-Africanism, African independence movements, and ‘Global 68’.
Vincent Meessen (born in Baltimore in 1971), studied journalism and cultural policies before he completed his postgraduate studies at the HISK (Higher Institute for Fine Arts) in Antwerp. He is a founding member of Ambassade Universelle, a facility for undocumented people (2001-2005), of the artist collective Potential Estate (2006-2012) and of Jubilee, a Brussels-based platform for research and artistic production. Recent exhibitions include: Sire, je suis de l'ôtre pays, WIELS, Brussels, 2016; Patterns for (Re)Cognition, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015;_ My Last Life, FRAC Aquitaine, 2015; Patterns for (Re)Cognition, KiOSK, Gent, 2013 ; Mi Ultima Vida,_ MUAC, Mexico City, 2012.
James Beckett (born in 1977 in Harare, Zimbabwe) is an artist and musician, living and working in Amsterdam. His research-based practice explores minor histories, mostly concerned with industrial development and subsequent demise across Europe, a process of investigation which is as much physical as it is biographical. Beckett often relies on museological display mechanisms to present manufacturing developments, at times staged from the particular vantage point of product evolution. His more recent works focus on the disparate practices of architecture and dentistry and the more metaphysical subculture of dowsing.
Beckett was resident at the Rijksakademie (2001-2002). Exhibitions include: 5
th Thessaloniki Bienalle, (GR); KaVo 1520 A, Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam (NL);Dowsing Schools, Artspace, Aukland, (NZ); Passionate Advocate, TWAAS, New York (US),_ Khevsurvite Derivative, _T293, Rome (IT), _Annals of 21
st C._ Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (UK); A Thousand Varied Uses, Nogueras Blanchard, Madrid (SP);_ _Liquid Assets, der steirische herbst, Graz (AT); Beyond Imagination, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL); When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, CCA Wattis, San Fransisco (US). In 2003 he received the Prix de Rome for art and public space, and has published two monographs: Constant Interjections, TWAAS/Koenig books, 2013; James Beckett, Kehrer Verlag, 2009.
Artwork by Trijntje Noske & Leonie Schneider
The Oranges box placed on grass is a simple narrative sculpture referring to exporting and importing food goods between countries. The tragic of trade systems, where various goods are prepared for the needs of western society in an unethical way. The sculpture makes a comment on the industry of trading but also on colonies being forced upon countries, the western weight influences places, raises a wall in which cultures have to maintain. –by Leonie Schneider en Trijntje Noske
Poster by Gilles De Brock