Various Artists | Le Château
curated by Catherine Bompuis
February 16 — March 10 2012
Le Château by Various Artists dedicated to Hans Sonneveld, 1960-2011 Curator Catherine Bompuis Galeria Luisa Strina Sao Paulo, Brazil Open to the public: 16 January – 3 March 2012 Vernissage: 16 February 2012 – 19:00 Exhibition: 16 February – 3 March 2012 Le Château “Hunger is human made.” “Since the emergence of industrial agriculture and the industrialization of our food, obesity and food-related diseases have become widespread. While millions of people are dying of hunger, it happens more and more that vast resources are mobilized, in countries where p eople do not have enough to eat, for crops earmarked for export”. (VA) Le Château is an installation created by Various Artists, a group of 24 fictive artists invented by Trudo Engels since 1995.
A castle made out of biscuits will be built in the Luisa Strina gallery using processed foods saturated with refined sugars and E-number food additives purchased in shops selling cheap food like “Doces Imperial”, “Largo dos Doces”, etc.
These foods will have a long-term impact on the health of those who eat it either by necessity or by choice. These processed foods yield the highest profit margins and are the object of particularly aggressive advertising campaigns targeted at the public.
Le Château has been conceived as a performance, which includes an installation, a series of workshops, as well as information on the topic under the spotlight.
“Changing the way we eat will not change the world, but it may begin to change us, and then we can be part of changing the world.”
Various Artists (VA) are, in order of appearance: Intrudor, Armin Turing, 1973, Munich, Germany; Innumerat Roselare, 1970, Du Bois, Pennsylvania, United States; Bernard Leroy, 1975, Mississauga, Canada; Johannes Korstjens, 1980, Haarlem, Netherlands; Lima Drib, 1961, Liverpool, England; n.e.b.u.s.i., 1968, Spitak, Armenia; Digi_Shelf, Délia Sheehy, 1971, Limerick, Ireland; Willy Depoortere, 1979, Poperinge, Belgium; Aude Thensiau, 1975, Marseille, France; Christl Coppens, 1986, Ghent, Belgium; Martaque, Jamila Al Khawarizm, 1973, Cascais, Portugal; Steina Zooeydottir, 1981, Bolungarvik, Iceland; Late Trudo Engels, 1962-2009, Roeselare, Belgium; Valereson da Silva, 1971, Pindamonhangaba, Brazil; Eraser, Ana Omandichana, 1984, Siroki Brijeg, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Cindy Janssens, 1985, Maastricht, Netherlands; Freddy Grant, 1952, Kilarrow, Scotland; Martn Coppens, 1986, Ghent, Belgium; Robert Ingelbre_, 1982, Stockholm, Sweden; Diederick Dewaere, 1974, St-Etienne, France; Marcella.B, 1955, Arnhem, Netherlands; Morice de Lisle, 1955, Kinshasa, Congo; Sufferice, Albert Savereys, 1964, Petegem, Belgium; Hélène Thensiau, 1976, Marseille, France.
Various Artists consists of an autonomous work. Each of the artists works along specific research lines and on his/her own artistic identity.
A background has been prepared for each of these virtual artists, works have been produced, and collaborations have been entered into with other VA.
For each VA, Trudo Engels has created a database containing their personal information: a CV, portraits, works, studios, stories, articles, etc. These archives form the basis of the Being an Artist sessions.
They were created, on the one hand, to develop further the VA, on the other to make them available to other artists (AV: Artistes Véritables, i.e., real, actual artists), who thus have the opportunity to free themselves of their own artistic practice. The VA are thus evolving towards a collective conceptual thought, an open structure accessible to all.
Based on the acquired knowledge and skills, new works are produced over the course of projects involving different VA: each one contributes his/her characteristics, background and artistic interests. Whether fictive or not, this collaboration is performed by real people. The creator of the VA and the artists linked to the Being an Artist series can perform as VA in the collective projects.
One of the VA, Morice de Lisle, does performances whose rules alter or limit the work of the other VA. De Lisle – one of the most radical VA – refuses to be photographed.
He will fast for 34 days. He will drink only water.
This performance, inspired by the Franz Kafka story “The Hunger Artist”, a metaphor for the artist and his condition, constitutes the basis of the project Le Château. “In the last decades interest in hunger artists has declined considerably. Whereas in earlier days there was good money to be earned putting on major productions of this sort under one’s own management, nowadays that is totally impossible. Those were different times. Back then the hunger artist captured the attention of the entire city. From day to day while the fasting lasted, participation increased. Everyone wanted to see the hunger artist at least once a day. (…)” The state of abstinence physically weakens the artist/activist while simultaneously reinforcing his action mentally. This state will influence and modify the process of the installation as well as its presentation.
This act of passive resistance is traditionally a symbolic act used as a weapon in the political field. Transferred to an artistic context, it subverts its rules.
The act also induces a critical reflection on the industrialization of our food and its impact on our health. This symbolic action is a political action aimed at the food-processing industry.
The Luisa Strina gallery becomes a stage. The characters are fictive, but the action is real.
During the preparatory phase of the installation, the space will serve as a metaphor for discussions and workshops exploring the question of the development of the industry of consumer products.
The research and development period conducted by these fictive artists will result in an exhibition that will open its doors on 16 February at the Luisa Strina gallery in Sao Paulo.
Morice de Lisle, Lima Drib, Diederick Dewaere, Valereson da Silva, Christl Coppens, Martn Coppens and Marcella.B by VA Christl Coppens by Elise Broekaert, Sophie Speck and Laura Caroen Valereson da Silva by Jesse Cremers Marcella.B by Elke Van Campenhout Technical team : Rubens Teixeira dos Santos and Jesse Cremers Production assistant : Loes Jacobs Team Galeria Luisa Strina : Ada Maria Hennel, Adailton Pires dos Santos, José Roberto da Silva and Sandro Machado Rodrigues The workshops will be open to the public every Thursday from 16 January onwards.
references: 1) Moore Lappe F., Diet for a Small Planet, New York, 1991, p. xvii. 2) Moore Lappe F., Diet for a Small Planet, New York, 1991, p.14.
3) Franz Kafka. Essencial Kafka, Companhia Das Letras. Tradução, seleção e comentários de Modesto Carone, São Paulo, Brasil, 2011.p.43.