Installation of a big wooden fence, covered with works, blocking the entrance of the exhibition space.
From… Till… At… (installation)
Dimensions: 20 x 3,5 m / Materials: mixed media / Year: 2008
(images above: From… Till… At…, installation views Voorkamer, Lier, BE)
When Voorkamer, an artist-run space in Lier (BE), invited me for a solo exhibition in 2008, I was given carte blanche. All spaces of the historical House of the Holy Spirit were at my disposal.
Prior to writing this text, I tried to reconstruct how, at the time, I made some radical decisions. I vividly remembered my first visit. I had wandered again and again about the site, examining the numerous rooms, absorbing their distinct atmosphere. I could not overlook the site’s history and was there to imagine its near future, but what struck me most was its current state.
The time vacuum between two exhibitions had given the rooms an ambivalent and undefined character. It must have been the mix of musings and sensations that took me back to my own past, to the time when I made my first attempts at creating art (fig.1). A time when the things I made were undefined and looked ambiguous. A time when I felt very vulnerable, and yet elated about almost everything I created.
So I denied myself this most generous offer of exhibition space, left the site and the rooms untouched, and decided to place my earliest works outside the entrance building. In the course of a few weeks I built in front of the facade a large wooden fence to which eventually all works would be attached (fig.2).
From… Till… At…, included works / various dates
The fence had a different appearance during and after opening hours. In both states the building itself remained inaccessible. A local resident wondered why there was a fence in front of a facade only recently renovated, and a friend was astonished to find the entrance to the building closed when the invitation had stated that the exhibition would be open (fig.3).
The wood used for the fence was recovered from the previous exhibition. A regular visitor to the exhibition venue asked where he could find the current exhibition, and why the artist of the previous exhibition had placed his work on the street.
From… Till… At…, invitation / 2008 (fig.4)
The invitation consisted of old invitations from previous exhibitions, upon which long pieces of tape with the text “Van… Tot… In…” (“From…Till… At…”) were diagonally applied (fig.5). The dates and location were later added by hand. When it turned out that there were not enough copies, one of the old invitations was reprinted. Someone joked, “They were out of money.” Someone else stayed home.
From… Till… At…, opening exhibition / 2008
For opening night a temporary toilet had to be installed because the site itself was inaccessible (fig.6). Earlier that afternoon, the installation of the toilet caused a conflict with a nearby shopkeeper, who insisted on its immediate removal, arguing that it would keep away potential customers. We agreed to move it to the other end of the facade, but still he regularly cast an evil eye in its direction. At the opening, hot soup was served around a campfire to beat the cold. After the first drinks, the toilet proved useful.