Bn PROJECTS & Maison Grégoire are very happy to invite you to The Great Neighbour an exhibition specially conceived by Denicolai & Provoost for the space of Maison Grégoire.
This exhibition is a proposal curated by Maud Salembier, in conversation with Emmanuel Lambion, in the framework of the 3rd edition of WAB, the Wandering Arts Biennale, organized by Nadine vzw in different locations through Brussels.
Denicolai & Provoost have a long tradition of collaboration with Bn Projects, in different venues and / or in the public space. However, it is the first time that they will have a solo exhibition in these special domestic premises conceived by architect Henry van de Velde for his friend Docteur Grégoire in 1935.
Much of the practice by the Italo-Belgian duo revolves about a transactional subversion of the very concepts of public and private spaces, often privatizing what is usually considered a public space, or, conversely, making public what belongs to a more private and intimate sphere.
This will also be the case for The Great Neighbour, whose title may possibly act as a humorous and indirect reference to the great Henry, or a tribute to the active commitment of the owners towards the artistic scene since 1994, opening and using the house for exhibitions since the very beginning of their acquisition.
The trigger for this exhibition, however, is the presentation in a domestic setting of Denicolai & Provoost’s film Dancing Mice. Dancing Mice (2016) was filmed in the bucolic environment of Taarlo, a small hamlet of 120 inhabitants in Drenthe, in the gemeente Tynaarlo. The inhabitants have managed to keep alive the communal spirit of pre-enclosure and pre-industrial agrarian communities, engaging thus in many common activities. It is on the occasion of one of these festivities, in mid-Summer, that the duo received the autorisation to film in their private residences. The result is a surprising loop of domestic travelings in crossfading, rendering the impression of an endless and deserted heterotopic mansion, apprehended in a circular meandering. Desert with the exception for the eponymous marginal co-occupants of the premises, of course, who might be dancing. As French have it, quand le chat n’est pas là….
Besides this film, Denicolai & Provoost have decided to present a re-articulation of the Eyeliner project-cum-edition that they developed for the Belgian Art Prize in 2016. Fascinated by the way Brussels inhabitants occupy and decorate the window sills of their front windows, somehow projecting their private interiors or, at least, a staged image of it into the public realm, they had decided to make an editorial project-cum-display of a selection of these impromptu semi-private exhibitions.
Having met and interviewed the owners of these « curated » window arrangements, they borrowed an object from them and consigned their textual biographies in the eponymous edition. In a way, the eclectic panel of interviewees were the co-curators of this institutional open and participative show, which trespassed the spatial and temporal limitations of an institutional show, centered on the figures of the artists. It unfolded beyond them, forming a sort of semi-permanent semi-private / semi-public urban display, which also acted and still acts as an anthropological and indirect portrait of the European and Belgian capital, in all the diversity of its socio-cultural mix.
For The Great Neighbour, Denicolai and Provoost somehow subvert the logic of this project by installing a sailing boat in one of the front windows of the house. The boat is made up with random elements which they found or collected in the public space. As a possible intentional tribute from their side to one of the passions of the owner, this gesture nevertheless acts a sort intrusion of this stylish modernist masterpiece building, almost entirely open to the street through its windows, and which offers a glimpse of a variety of artistic interventions through its regular activity as a semi-public and private art centre.
The centrifugal dimension of the specific articulation of this project for Maison Grégoire is this time offered by the invitation card, which, in this case, acts as a sort of limited and artistic edition. The recto of the card is namely made up by a biography of the present owner/occupants of the House, Thomas Simon and Bernard Petit, whom Denicolai & Provoost have interviewed.
An additional intervention, somehow illustrating a further desire to disclose the intimacy, or the private hidden aspects of an household or of an institution, is offered by 6 42 a.m., an edition by More Publishers, which features in a suggestive and fragmented way, in a series of four postcards, the activity of a cleaning lady cleaning a table. Acting asThe Achterkant van de (Privé) Salon Condities - to quote in a subversive fashion a previous film by the duo which they had shot on the occasion of an exhibition at CCStrombeek -, this edition acts as a tribute to all these invisible hands, all the modest labour, which makes bigger and more visible initiatives or projects, artistic or not, possible. Food for thought from the start.
Emmanuel Lambion - Bn PROJECTS
Vernissage on Thu. 6 December 2018, 6 30 p.m.